Space Shuttle Fuel Tank - Atlas Obscura

Space Shuttle Fuel Tank

Green Cove Springs, Florida

How did a 154-foot-long piece of spacecraft wind up abandoned along the side of a Florida road?  

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Along a service road near St. Johns River in Florida sits a 154-foot-long remnant of the U.S. Space Shuttle program. A test fuel tank that was built in 1977 and used for stress testing before any shuttles took flight offers a unique chance to get up close and personal with part of a space shuttle.

For many years, this tank stood on display at the Kennedy Space Center. But after the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, NASA announced that they would remove the test fuel tank to make room for the retired space shuttle Atlantis, along with a new exhibition facility. The tank was auctioned off and sold to the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum in Keystone Heights, Florida.

According to Abandoned Florida, it took a 200-foot barge, two tugboats, and cranes to transport the massive tank from Kennedy Space Center to Green Cove Springs, where it would be temporarily held before moving to its final destination. But the logistics of moving such a massive structure proved difficult, and that temporary staging site seems to have become the fuel tank’s final home. Recently, a sign has been placed in front of the tank that describes its function and use in the U.S. Space program and how it got to its final place. It’s been sitting in Green Cove Springs since 2013, and the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum closed in 2019. 

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