Watch NASA destroy its old Marshall Space Flight Center headquarters in the video
NASA destroyed one of its vintage buildings early Saturday (October 29), sending the ancient structure off with a literal bang.
The space agency deliberately demolished its historic building 4200, which served as its administrative headquarters Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama from 1963 to 2020. The building is being removed to “make way for a series of new, state-of-the-art facilities tailored to help NASA chart discoveries in space in the next century,” agency officials said it was stated in the announcement this month (opens in new tab).
NASA destroyed Building 4200 at 8:30 a.m. EDT (12:30 GMT) Saturday morning in a controlled implosion that brought down the office building, now a shell of itself, in mere seconds. NASA web streams the weekend destruction live on YouTube (opens in new tab). Below you can see a replay of the event after about 30 minutes.
Building 4200 was originally slated for an update in 2030. But in 2020, engineers discovered structural problems in its exterior wall panels, and NASA decided it made more sense to demolish Building 4200 than to repair and maintain it.
“That decision tugs on many nerves,” agency officials wrote in the same statement. “The building has been home to thousands of Marshall team members for more than six decades. That number includes 14 principals, from Drs. Wernher von Braun – who led rocket development in the 1960s and 1970s – to [current director Jody] Singer, the first woman to serve in that position.”
The Historic Preservation Team at Marshall, NASA’s premier rocket and propulsion research center, is working with the agency’s Office of History and the Alabama State Historic Preservation Office to protect the history and legacy of Building 4200.
“Thousands of photographs, videos and other documents have been archived and made available for public use by the Library of Congress Historical American Building Survey and Historical American Engineering Record,” NASA officials wrote.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on October 29 with details of the successful implosion and destruction of Building 4200, the old headquarters building of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Mike Wall is the author of “There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).
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