The Houston exhibit is not quite the caliber of the interactive museum-tourist attraction complex that was constructed around the restored Saturn 5 on display at the spaceport here at Kennedy Space Center. Still, historians and space enthusiasts are celebrating the rocket's rescue from what had been an undignified fate.
"To allow these three remaining monuments to degrade to the point of destruction would have stolen from the next generation and their descendants the opportunity to fully appreciate the sheer power and force it took to achieve landing 12 men on the moon," said Robert Pearlman, a space memorabilia expert and editor of the Web site collectspace.com.
The differences in the facility can be traced to their purpose and cost. KSC's facility was envisioned, designed and built from the beginning not just as a structure to protect the mammoth Saturn 5 rocket but to be a tourist showcase, Pearlman said.
At JSC, the facility was built as a temporary building to protect the rocket and allow for a climate-controlled environment for the restoration work. The aesthetics of a tourist destination were not the prime concern, he said.
"Hopefully, as more funding can be raised, a similar display can be built for JSC's Saturn 5, allowing a partial return to the majestic sight of the giant moon booster welcoming visitors to the home of Mission Control and the astronauts," Pearlman said.