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Roadside Space Shuttle External Tank

Field review by the editors.

Green Cove Springs, Florida

A real external fuel tank is a rare survivor of the Space Shuttle program, since all of the tanks that were launched either blew up or burned up on reentry. This one -- 154 feet long, longer than the Statue of Liberty is tall -- was built in the 1970s and was used for structural and stress testing at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

The tank is not part of a museum or overpriced space attraction. It's abandoned next to an empty street. You can drive up to it, get out, and touch it.

In 1997 the tank was barged to the Kennedy Space Center and put on display. When the Shuttle program ended, the tank was sold -- or possibly just given away for free -- to the Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum in Starke, Florida. In 2013 it was barged to this spot, with the expectation that Wings of Dreams would then pay to truck the tank the last 30 miles to the museum. But those 30 miles proved to be a logistical nightmare, and extremely expensive. Wings of Dreams ran out of money and closed, and the tank has been sitting at this spot beside the road ever since.

Roadside Space Shuttle External Tank

3939 Reynolds Blvd, Green Cove Springs, FL
From downtown drive south on Hwy 16, then turn east at the stoplight (Hess station) to follow Hwy 16. Drive one mile east. Turn left at the blinker light (marina on left) onto Reynolds Blvd. Drive until the road ends. You'll see the tank on the left. This is an open industrial wharf with limited water protections and few guardrails. Mind children and pets. Limited lighting in the area. Avoid after dark for safety.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Military Museum of North FloridaMilitary Museum of North Florida, Green Cove Springs, FL - < 1 mi.
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In the region:
Castle Otttis, St. Augustine, FL - 21 mi.

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