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The iconic Saturn 1B rocket at the Ardmore Welcome Center on Interstate 65.

It seems the fate of the Saturn rocket at the Ardmore Welcome Center along I-65 has been determined by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

"In partnership with the state of Alabama and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, we are supporting the safe removal of the Saturn 1B rocket and looking toward what may take its place in the future," the center said in the statement.

With the welcome center closed and demolition on the parking lot area, many began to wonder what would happen to the iconic rocket. Earlier this week rumors swirled that it may come down after Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell said there had been ongoing discussion about what to do with it because of damage it has sustained. But, ultimately he said it would be up to the Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

The News Courier reached out to the Marshall Space Flight Center who confirmed the report of the damage to the rocket and said it supports the removal.

"The Saturn 1B located at the Ardmore Welcome Center in Elkmont, Alabama is on loan to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and has been a beacon to travelers along I-65 for many years," the center said in the statement. "This rocket was not built to withstand more than 40 years of continuous exposure to the elements of nature. The support structure has deteriorated over the years, the damage is too significant to repair, and could potentially pose a structural safety issue if left in place."

There is no timeline for when the removal might take place and no word on what may happen with the rocket when it comes down.

"NASA and Marshall Space Flight Center recognize the significant interest in NASA artifacts as a way to acknowledge and remember accomplishments in space exploration. NASA, with community partners, works to honor and preserve NASA’s history to the maximum extent possible," the center said in the statement.

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