Space exploration retirees receive grant for commemorative fountain


HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (WHNT) – A memorial that ensures that Huntsville’s contributions to space exploration will be preserved is set to debut at US Space and Rocket Center.

The Madison County Commission introduced the NASA / Marshall Retirees Association (MRA) with a grant of $ 50,000 Tuesday. The money will go towards the construction of a memorial fountain, honoring the work of the Huntsvillians in space exploration.

Huntsville space explorers built the rockets and spacecraft that made mankind’s greatest voyage, according to NASA / Marshall Retiree Association president Rick Chappell.

These efforts will be at the center of the memorial: “There is no better tribute to recognize and honor the thousands of NASA workers and their contractors whose dedicated teamwork has made American space exploration possible. from Huntsville and Madison County as well as all of northern Alabama. Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said in a statement.

The memorial is slated to open in 2023 to coincide with the launch of Artemis to return to the Moon.

Space Exploration Memorial Committee | From L to R: Parker Counts, Rick Chappell, President Dale Strong, Dr Kimberly Robinson, Brooks Moore, John Blue

However, this project requires $ 1.5 million to build, and the association is still striving to achieve this goal. Donations for the memorial can be made on the association website in honor or in memory of others, and all donors will be acknowledged, unless requested otherwise.

Another part of the memorial is an online database that contains the names and accomplishments of Marshall’s employees and contractors.

An interactive kiosk will be built next to the Space Exploration Memorial where visitors can research the names found on the monument and learn more about that person’s specific contributions to the advancement of spaceflight.

Chappell said individuals and family members are encouraged to submit information of those who will be honored at the Space Memorial database.

He said the database currently includes the names of some 22,000 current and former members of Marshall’s workforce, and that the Association encourages all employees of contractors to add their names as well. This will help ensure the history and legacy of everyone who worked on the program.

“This memorial will forever recognize these space explorers and serve as an inspiration for generations to follow in their footsteps and bring us back to the Moon, Mars and points beyond,” said President Strong.

The association is thrilled to share the monument with the wider Huntsville community as an educational tool for space campers and anyone visiting Rocket City.

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