MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Legislature paused briefly in the frantic final days of the 2012 session to honor NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
It was Marshall Space Flight Center Day at the Legislature Thursday. A giant space shuttle engine was brought to Montgomery and placed in front of the State House for legislators, school children and other visitors to the Capitol complex to examine.
Marshall acting director Gene Goldman told legislators the space flight center still has an important mission even though the space shuttle program has been discontinued.
He said Marshall, which developed the Saturn V moon rocket, is currently working on the new "Space Launch System," a long-range rocket. He said the rocket being developed "will take us exploring beyond earth's orbit."
Joining Goldman at the Statehouse was NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, who lived and worked aboard the international space station for six months in 2009 and 2010. Creamer talked with several groups and answered questions from school children.
Legislators presented Goldman with a resolution praising Marshall and contributions the agency has made to the state.
Goldman pointed out that Marshall does more than develop rockets. He said in recent years Marshall has helped Alabama deal with earthly issues such as the oil spill in the Gulf and tracking last April's deadly tornadoes.