NASA destroyed one of its old buildings early Saturday (October 29), removing the old structure with real fanfare.
The space agency intentionally demolished the Historic Building 4200, which served as the administrative headquarters for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama from 1963 to 2020. The building is being removed “to make way for a new series of technical facilities designed to help NASA map discoveries.” space in the next century,” agency officials said in a statement this month (Opens in a new tab).
NASA destroyed Building 4200 at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) Saturday morning with a controlled internal explosion that knocked the office building, now just a shell from itself, in a few seconds. NASA Broadcasts Web Destruction Weekend Live on YouTube (Opens in a new tab). You can watch a replay of the event below in about 30 minutes.
Building 4200 was originally slated to be modernized in 2030. But engineers found structural problems with the exterior wall panels in 2020, and NASA decided it made more sense to demolish Building 4200 rather than repair and maintain it.
“This decision is causing a lot of pain here,” agency officials wrote in the same statement. “The building has been home to thousands of members of Team Marshall over six decades. That number includes 14 directors, from Dr. Werner von Braun—who led rocket development in the 1960s and 1970s—to [current director Jody] Singer, the first woman to serve in this position.”
The Historic Preservation Team at Marshall, NASA’s leading center for missile and propulsion research, is working with the agency’s Office of History and the Alabama State Historic Preservation Office to protect the history and legacy of the 4200th Building.
“Thousands of images, videos, and other documents have been archived and made available for public use by the U.S. Library of Congress for the Historical History of Buildings and the U.S. Architectural Historical Registry,” NASA officials wrote.
Editor’s note: This story was updated October 29 with details of the implosion and successful destruction of Building 4200, the old headquarters building of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book about the search for an alien life. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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