HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A $1.5 million memorial is being planned to honor more than 20,000 people who have worked with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in north Alabama, assisting in U.S. space exploration.
The Madison County Commission recently gave $50,000 toward the project, which is being organized by the NASA/Marshall Retirees Association and would recognize both government workers and contractors, WAAY-TV reported.
The memorial would be located at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, which is operated by the state and serves as a visitor center for Marshall. Located at Redstone Arsenal, the NASA center was home to some of the earliest efforts to develop U.S. rockets and played a key role in the Apollo lunar program.
Today, Marshall is working on projects including management of the Space Launch System, NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket.
The chair of the county commission, Dale Strong, presented a check to assist with the memorial at a luncheon of the retiree group.
“This memorial will forever recognize these space explorers and serve as an inspiration for generations to follow in their footsteps and take us back to the Moon, Mars and points beyond,” said Strong.
The group plans to open the memorial in 2023, said Rick Chappell, president of the association. As part of the memorial, the group is developing an online database of the names and accomplishments of each Marshall and contract employee. A kiosk near the memorial would let people look them up.
The database already includes the names of some 22,000 current and former members of the Marshall workforce. The association is encouraging all contractor employees to add their names as well to ensure the legacy of all who have worked on the program, Chappell said.