Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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The two RV Gypsies at the
U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama
July 23, 2014
(photos by Karen, Lee, and Ilse)
with a flashback to 1978 at the bottom of this page

USA map showing location of the state of AlabamaMap of Alabama showing location of Huntsville

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is a museum operated by the government of Alabama, showcasing rockets, achievements, and artifacts of the U.S. space program. Sometimes billed as "Earth's largest space museum", astronaut Owen Garriott described the place as, "a great way to learn about space in a town that has embraced the space program from the very beginning."

Opened in 1970, just after the second manned mission to the lunar surface, the center not only showcases Apollo Program hardware but also houses interactive science exhibits, Space Shuttle and Army rocketry and aircraft. With more than 1,500 permanent rocketry and space exploration artifacts, as well as many rotating rocketry and space-related exhibits, the center occupies land carved out of Redstone Arsenal adjacent to Huntsville Botanical Garden at exit 15 on Interstate 565. (A link to the Botanical Garden is at the bottom of this page).

Two camp programs offer visitors the opportunity to stay on the grounds and learn more about their respective subject matter.

U.S, Space and Rocket Center entrance
U.S, Space and Rocket Center entrance
U.S, Space and Rocket Center entrance
plane at the entrance to U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Inside the main building

billboard inside the space center
an expandable space habitat display
Ilse checking out the expandable space habitat display

Rocket Park: Some of the rockets in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

sign about the rockets
Lee Duquette approaching the rocket exhibit
rocket
rocket

Below: The G-Force Accelerator was closed while the two RV Gypsies were here. But if open, visitors can train like an astronaut and experience three times the force of gravity as you test your will in the G-Force Accelerator!

  • Experience 3 Gs pushing on your body!

  • Push against centripetal force to test your strength.

  • You must be at least 48 inches tall to ride the G-Force Accelerator.

You should not ride this simulator if you have any heart problems, inner ear problems, asthma, seizures, pregnancy, back or neck pain, claustrophobia, motion sickness, detached retina or any other major medical condition. It was not open for riders when the two RV Gypsies were here, or Karen would liked to have tried it.

Force Accelerator that was closed

Below: 12 Honor plaques of space missions

Apollo 1 display
Apollo 1 display
mission display
Borman Lovell Anders mission
Schirra-Eisele-Cunningham display
 
Aoollo IX and Applo X display
Applo iX display
Applo X display
 
Apollo II display
Apollo II display
Apollo XII display
Apollo XII display
Apollo XIII display
Apollo XIII display
Apollo 15 display
Apollo 15 display
Apollo 14 display
Apollo 14 display
Apollo 16 display
Apollo 16 display
Cernan, Evans, Schmit display
Cernan, Evans, Schmit display
 

Outdoor rocket exhibit

rocket
looking up into the rocket pipe
looking up into the rocket pipe
looking up into the rocket pipe

Below: Moon Landing Monument July 20, 1969

Moon Landing Monument
Sign about the Quick Plane
Quick Plane
big rocket
big rocket
Karen Duquette under the big rocket
space module
Karen Duquette in a space module
Saturn V sign
Saturn V project sign

Below: Ilse, Karen and Lee each pushed down on the lever with all the thrust they could muster. The number shown means how many people with the same strength would equal the 7,500,00-pound thrust of the Saturn V rocket.

thrust muster

Ilse would need 75,000 people. She wasn't thrilled with her score.

Karen's sister tyring the thrust muster
Ilse Blahak's score on the thrust muster

Karen would need a bit fewer people = 53,571 people. She was OK with her score.

2nd place ribbonKaren Duquette trying the thrust muster
Karen Duquette's score on the thrust muster

And Lee was the strongest of the three - he would only need 41,666 people. Way to go Lee! (but nobody took his photo pushing on the lever- boo hoo!)

first place ribbonLee Duquette's score on the thrust muster
sign about Huntsville
Kennedy and the space racespace race quote
Gemini Mission Simulator sign

Gemini astronauts trained in this capsule.

Gemini Mission Simulator
Gemini Mission Simulator
a new engine
engine sign
curvimeter
Huntsvilel license plates
rocket design
rocket design

Below: Karen and Ilse are dwarfed by the big rocket

Below: Swing Arm

Karen Duquete and the big rocket
swing arm
two seater
Lunar Excurison module sign
Lunar Excurison module
Lunar Excurison module
Lunar Excurison module
quote from Charlie Duke
quote from Wernber von Braun
rocket city news
rocket city news
Ilse and the two RV Gypsies in space suits
space dummies

Actual Saturn 5 Rocket

rocket
rocket
Karen Duquette and her sister Ilse
rockets

Below: Shuttle Park

Explore the most complete chronology of launch vehicles in the country, including the world’s only fully-stacked Space Transportation System (STS) that includes two solid rocket boosters, genuine space shuttle main engine nozzles and a genuine external tank. This orbiter, Pathfinder, is on display in Shuttle Park and is flanked by a T-38, a twin-engine supersonic jet used in astronaut training.

Front view and side view of The Pathfinder- way too big to get the whole thing in a photo!

Karen and Ilse
spece shuttle

A fun FLASHBACK 1978 - Renee and Brian Duquette

Renee and Brian Duquette in 1978
Renee and Brian Duquette in 1978
Lee and Brian Duquette in 1978
Lee and Brian Duquette in 1978

Below: Saturn V Test Stand, also known as dynamic structural test facility, at the George C, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama is the test stand used for testing the Saturn V rock and the Space Shuttle prior to the vehicles' first flights. it stands 363 feet tall and is 98 feet square. Its central bay has maximum dimensions of 74 feet 74 feet. An elevator gives access to 15 levels of the structure.

Saturn V Test Stand

look below

Continue on to the Huntsville Botanical Center and the Alice in Wonderland special theme presentation.

OR

If you are interested in campgrounds, continue on to Wheeler Lake KOA, then on to Huntsville Botanical Center.