Rocket city— Hutnsville


Huntsville, Alabama is a global player in the defence and aerospace industries but in order to ensure its economic future it must diversify. It’s looking to bio-tech to not only attract top researchers and entrepreneurs, but also inject a dose of vibrancy.

US Space & Rocket Center museum

Somewhere in the bucolic western reaches of Huntsville, Alabama, rocket scientist Tim Pickens invites MONOCLE to “make some fire”. Pickens’ family home is a quarter mile away from here but because of his passion for all things space-related he has purchased another and filled it with Nasa memorabilia and madcap science projects, like rocket-powered scooters and bikes. In the yard, Pickens hooks up a stationary engine to hydrogen and oxygen tanks and sets it off, cheering the jet of flame and its exhilarating roar.

This is more than just a cool way…

Space dreams

In 2010, children from almost 60 countries attended Huntsville’s Space Camp, where they engaged in simulated astronaut training that teaches teamwork and leadership. When Monocle stopped by, there were visitors from St Louis, Missouri, Libya, Qatar, Bahrain and Spain. Half a million students have trained here since 1982. “The whole world comes together at Space Camp,” says spokesman Tim Hall. “Our goal is to inspire in people a love of maths, science, engineering, everything hi-tech.”


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