Photo: Naaman Fletcher
In 1963, Aerojet General was given a $3 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to build a manufacturing and testing site for rockets that would send astronauts to the moon.The plant was constructed in the centre of Florida’s Everglades in the town of Homestead.
Beneath a large metal shed, a 150-foot deep silo housed the largest solid-fuel rocket motor ever built. The rocket was tested three times between 1965 and 1967.
Then NASA dropped the project. The agency decided to go with liquid-fuel rocket engines instead. The plant was closed in 1969, leaving the rocket behind.
Photographer Naaman Fletcher, who blogs at What’s Left of Birmingham, visited the abandoned facility in April 2010.
Here’s what remains.
To reach the deserted plant, Fletcher had to bike six miles down a road that is inaccessible to vehicles.
So a canal was dug from the manufacturing plant to the Atlantic Ocean in order to get the rockets to Cape Canaveral, where the space shuttles are launched.
The AeroJet 26 Rocket was tested three times between 1965 and 1967, creating a blast that could be seen 50 miles away in Miami, writes Fletcher.
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