It’s an out-of-this-world shipment that could leave you seeing stars on the road.
Several pieces of solid rocket boosters, as well as a crew transport vehicle and crew hatch access vehicle are moving Friday from around Green Cove Spring to their new home at the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum in Keystone Heights. The trip is expected to take 3 ½ hours, and the slow moving convoy could cause delays on your commute.
Around 9 AM, the transport- along with a Clay County Sheriff’s Office escort- is heading out on Hwy 17 south of Green Cove Springs. It’s heading north to CR 220, then west to Blanding Blvd before turning south to SR 100 West. You can see the full route as well as estimated times for points along the way attached to the left.
The convoy will only be driving around 15-20 miles per hour because of the size of the items carried.
“Turning sharp corners with very long trailers, closing roads and ducking under power lines,” says Museum Executive Director Bob Oehl.
And while that may mean a delay on your commute, Oehl says it’s well worth it.
“This is something that’s special to North Florida,” he says.
The items getting transported to the museum are rare, according to Oehl. He says the crew transport vehicle is special because, while in use, access to the transport was limited only to astronauts or doctors caring for astronauts.
But ultimately, these are just pieces of the puzzle ahead of the big prize.
A few weeks ago, a shuttle fuel tank was shipped up the St. Johns River, and Oehl says that will be coming over to the Museum as well.
“This is all kind of a precursor to the big move,” he says.
Oehl says the fuel tank is the only one left because it never took flight. He says tanks burn on reentry, and there are no more being built currently.
When that finally arrives at the museum, it will join other piece of space history, including a flight simulator that was used to train the crew of the Challenger, among others.
Oehl says they’re also embarking on an education campaign to make sure everyone is aware of the rich history of NASA and space travel, although efforts like this transport are entirely volunteer, and donations always help them further their goals.