Atlas Rocket at Science and Technology Museum dismantled
Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 1:34PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 25, 2015 6:48PM EST
The landmark, 23-meter-tall Atlas Rocket on the lawn of the Canada Science and Technology Museum has been taken down.
Crews loaded the 59- year -old rocket onto a large flatbed truck Thursday for its final descent to a storage facility. Once there it will be permantently dismantled as per the instructions from its owner, the United States Air Force.
"Their instruction is that it be cut up into very small pieces that can't be put back together because it had military applications in the past, I presume," says Museum spokesperson Olivier Bouffard.
The rocket has been on loan from the USAF since 1973.
Museum officials say the rocket had to come down before it collapsed on its own because of its deteriorating condition. Despite its rigid appearance, the skin of the rocket is actually quite thin. "It's made out of 27 sections, says Bouffard. "Most of them are about the thickness of a milk carton."
Generators have been in place to maintain the rocket's internal air pressure to prevent it from crumpling in on itself, not unlike a big balloon. But now it has simply sprung too many leaks to be safely displayed.
Nearby resident Shahriar Shah came out to take one final picture of what has been a familiar landmark for over 40 years. "My son would come every time here to play in the summertime - me, my daughter and my son," he says. "We'll miss it."
The oil pumpjack which also adorned the front lawn of the museum has also been removed and put in storage because of its poor conditon,
The Science and Technology Museum is closed until 2017 for a massive $80 million renovation.
The museum's roof is cracked and was in danger of collapsing during a heavy snow storm.
CTV Ottawa reporter Eric Longley will have a full report at 6pm.