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Resource Description

Resource Analysis

Alternatives and Impacts




Man in Space
Alternatives and Impacts
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Management, interpretation, visitor use, and preservation of the 26 Man in Space sites would continue under the direction of NASA, the Air Force, the Army, and other responsible organizations. The Smithsonian would continue to preserve and display space artifacts and loan them to other organizations. It is probable that interpretation would continue to focus on present and future programs rather than the early American space program and that funding for resource preservation would continue to be a low priority for most agencies. However, because the agencies' awareness of the importance of interpreting and preserving the Man in Space sites has increased as a result of the 1984 theme study and the subsequent landmark designation, more active interpretive and preservation programs might result.


Current agency responsibilities for the Man in Space sites are as follows.

NASA. NASA manages 21 of the 26 sites; seven are inactive and 14 are active. The inactive sites receive varying levels of maintenance, and many have been salvaged. They are not currently used for agency programs and generally are not expected to be reactivated. Two notable exceptions are the Saturn V dynamic test stand and the spacecraft propulsion research facility, which could be reactivated. The active sites are currently used for agency programs and are modified or changed as necessary to meet new technological requirements and agency programs.

U.S. Air Force. The Air Force manages three of the 26 sites. The two inactive sites are currently used to support agency programs. The active site (Rogers Dry Lake) is naturally preserved and requires minimal maintenance.

U.S. Army. The Army manages one inactive site that has been restored and is not required for future agency programs.

Smithsonian Institution. The National Air and Space Museum collects, preserves, and displays aeronautical and spaceflight equipment of historical significance for educational purposes. The Smithsonian has loaned its Saturn V rocket to the Alabama Space and Rocket Center, which is responsible for maintenance and display.

National Park Service. The Park Service does not manage any Man in Space sites, but it was responsible for recommending the designation of 25 of the 26 sites as national historic landmarks.


Funding for interpretation, visitor use, and preservation of the Man in Space sites would probably remain a low priority for NASA, the Air Force, and the Army. Currently, few, if any, of the revenues from user fees and visitor services at their installations are expended on preservation. These monies are generally used to maintain the visitor facilities, not the resources. Interpretation, visitor access, and preservation are high priorities for the Smithsonian, but funding limitations do not permit them to assume major additional collection care activities.

Interpretation/Visitor Use

The 26 sites would continue to be interpreted by the managing agencies, and there would be little coordination of interpretive and visitor services related the Man in Space theme. The agencies would continue to focus their interpretive efforts on present and future programs rather than on the early American space program.

Most NASA visitor centers as well as other centers would continue to be operated by contract or concession personnel, agency personnel, and in some cases volunteers. The centers would expand and change exhibitry as appropriate, and new centers would be built as needed. There are preliminary plans between NASA and the local communities to move the Lewis and Langley visitor centers outside the fenced facilities to allow easier public access. There are also plans to build new visitor centers at the Johnson Space Center and the Ames Research Center. NASA teacher resource centers across the country would continue to assist educators in developing their aerospace education programs.

Although the Army and Air Force have no formal interpretive programs, their public affairs staffs and others would continue to conduct group tours of sites on a regulated basis and to open portions of their bases periodically to the public for activities like air shows and tours of designated sites. The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum would continue to promote better understanding of air and space through technological achievements. The Alabama Space and Rocket Center and other space museums and facilities would continue to display space objects and artifacts and interpret various aspects of the space program. Finally, media would continue to be devoted to current and future space programs, including movies (both conventional and IMAX/OMNIMAX), books, audio/video cassettes, magazines, television programs, and brochures/pamphlets.


Preservation activities would probably continue to be limited. Of the 26 sites being studied, 10 are inactive and 16 are active. Five of the inactive sites are no longer used, and only limited maintenance/ preservation monies are spent on them; the other inactive sites are maintained at a minimum level. The active sites are maintained, but few of them are being preserved as they existed during the early American space program because changes and modifications have been required to support new programs and technology. Many of the 26 sites were modified, salvaged, or abandoned without prior photographic, measured drawing, or historical documentation before they were designated to the National Register. The agencies are aware of the need to preserve the sites, but they have no priority system for preserving them. Some section 106 and 110(f) compliance work has occurred, but a more active compliance process involving the state historic preservation officer, the Advisory Council, and the agencies is needed to ensure that any actions undertaken have been adequately considered.

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has an active artifact loan program as part of its mandate to share collections and knowledge of those collections with the peoples of the world. However, funding constraints do not allow sufficient first-hand review of the conditions under which artifacts are exhibited at the borrowers' facilities or monitoring of the artifacts' state of preservation.

The Air Force has indicated that it does not have sufficient funds, in light of agency priorities, to rehabilitate and maintain the launch complex 26 service structure. (In 1985 the Air Force estimated that it would take $1.25 million to rehabilitate the structure and another $77,000 per year to maintain it.) If funds could not be obtained from other sources, the service structure would be dismantled as proposed.

To date, fund-raising efforts for reerecting the Apollo launch tower have been unsuccessful (cost $15 million to reerect the tower with mockup pad, mockup Saturn V rocket/command module, visitor facilities, and administrative offices and $5 million for cyclic maintenance). The Apollo Society might capitalize on the upcoming 20th anniversary of the first manned moon landing to attract private and public funds to complete their project. However, if fund-raising efforts continued to be unsuccessful, the Apollo launch tower might have to be scrapped.


Management and Funding

There would be no impacts on existing management and funding under this alternative.

Interpretation/Visitor Use

Current interpretive and visitor services would not be directly affected; however, because most visitor center and interpretive programs focus on present and future space programs, the historical perspective would

continue to be fragmented and inadequately illustrated. Although the agencies might increase efforts to interpret the early American space program, there would be no national focus or comprehensive, coordinated effort in relating the Man in Space theme to the public. There would be no impacts on current visitor access policies.


Preservation of the 26 sites would be hampered because of limited funding and low preservation priorities by the managing agencies. This would result in continued deterioration of inactive sites and inadequate documentation of altered sites. The launch complex 26 service structure at Cape Canaveral would likely be dismantled because of the concerns discussed in the Air Force s environmental assessment and preliminary case report. Efforts to reerect and preserve the Apollo launch tower would depend on the success of fund-raising; if it proved unsuccessful, the tower might have to be scrapped.

Continued Continued


Last Modified: Wed, Nov 29 2000 10:00:00 am PDT

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