NASA destroyed one of its own vintage buildings early Saturday (Oct. 29) and sent the vintage structure away with a literal bang.
The space agency deliberately demolished the historic 4200 building, which served as the administrative headquarters of the 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 art facilities custom-built to help NASA map the next century’s discoveries in space,” agency officials said in a statement this month.
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NASA destroyed Building 4200 at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) Saturday morning with a controlled implosion that brought down the office building, now just a shell of its former self, in just a few seconds. NASA webcast the weekend’s destruction live on YouTube
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Building 4200 was originally scheduled for an update in 2030. But engineers discovered structural problems in the exterior wall panels in 2020, and NASA decided it made more sense to demolish Building 4200 than repair and maintain it.
4200 in its heyday, anchoring the administrative complex and overseeing the work of thousands of NASA officials and contractors at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The building is scheduled for demolition on October 29, 2022. Credit: NASA / Emmett Given
“That decision appeals to many hearts here,” agency officials wrote in the same statement. The building has been home to thousands of Marshall team members for much of six decades. That number includes 14 directors, from Dr. Wernher von Braun – who led rocket development in the 1960s and 1970s – to [current director Jody] Singer, the first woman to serve in that capacity.”
Another view of the destruction of Building 4200 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on October 29, 2022. Credit: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall’s historic preservation team, NASA’s leading center for rocketry and propulsion research, is working with the agency’s History Office and the Alabama State Historic Preservation Office to protect the history and heritage of Building 4200.
“Thousands of photos, videos and other documents have been archived and made available for public use by the Library of Congress’ Historical American Building Survey and Historical American Engineering Record,” NASA officials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 to detail the successful implosion and destruction of Building 4200, the vintage headquarters of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Mike Wall is the author of “ Outside (opens in new tab) (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book on 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) .