U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Saturn V replica to be repainted next week

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The rocket replica that has stood vertically outside at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center since 1999 will be painted next week, said C.E.O. Deborah Barnhart.

The fundraising for the project is ongoing, as the USSRC plans to preserve and restore the replica along with each historic rocket on site.

"Painting of the Saturn V will start in just a few days actually, in the beginning of December," Barnhart said.

An exact date has not yet been announced, but Barnhart said it will be a massive effort.

"It takes a really big crane, a really tall crane, because of course, the Saturn V is as tall as a football field. And you have to have a little bit of clearance above that. So we actually have to get clearance from the FAA to erect a crane this tall so we don't interfere with Redstone Airfield," she said.

The rocket, she said, needs to be ready for a big celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. Many entities, including the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, are planning a week's worth of events in commemoration of the Apollo 11 launch and Huntsville's role in the history-making moment.

The USSRC has an ongoing campaign to ask for your help with the restoration effort, which it said will be an expensive undertaking.

"One of our major partners in this is PPG," said Barnhart. "The paints they make are the proper paints for the preservation of these historic artifacts. And of course, we have contributions coming in from all over the community. And no amount is too small. Everyone needs to participate in helping us put the best face on these rockets and repainting them for the big celebration next year."

And if you want to take a more active role in the repaint, leaders told us there are plans to allow you to participate.

"Part of the fundraising will be the opportunity for people to get into a bucket and go part of the way up and actually do some of the paint on the Saturn V," she said. "We'll let you know more about that later."