NASA is giving away an Apollo-era Saturn rocket

The space agency will happily unload the never-flown rocket onto an organization that can pay the quarter million dollars for shipping.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read

Coming to a park near you, if that park has an extra $250,000 in the budget. 


Just in time for the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 astronauts landing on the moon, the space agency has a very big piece of history it's looking to offload.

The historic Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Alabama played a central role in developing the Saturn rockets that powered the Apollo rocket program, and apparently it had one of the earliest models just lying around after all these years. 

According to documents and emails obtained by CNET, MSFC "has excessed a Saturn 1 Block 1 Booster portion of a Saturn rocket stack up." 

The booster is the bottom or first stage of the Saturn I, which was the United States' first heavy-lift rocket, developed in the early 1960s. It was the more massive fifth version, or Saturn V, that would send Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their trip to the moon in 1969. 

Watch this: Apollo 11 moon landing highlights from CBS News

Presumably, this rocket never flew since the standard practice for all NASA launches prior to the space shuttle program and the later emergence of SpaceX was to allow spent boosters to fall in the ocean.

So this is basically an unused, genuine space rocket being given away to interested schools, universities, museum or libraries for free. All any interested organization has to do is pay for shipping, which happens to cost a quarter million dollars in this case. 

NASA occasionally offers free artifacts to schools and museums through the federal government's General Services Administration. In fact, it's currently also trying to get rid of some old space shuttle tiles and astronaut food packets.

If the $250,000 shipping and handling fees for a rocket are a little steep for your burgeoning space museum, you might do better to start building your exhibit around some nice shuttle tiles, which can be had for one ten-thousandth the cost, or about $25 in shipping costs.