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Redstone Arsenal (RSA) is a United States Army post and a census-designated place (CDP) adjacent to Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama, United States and is part of the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. The Arsenal is a garrison for a number of tenants including the United States Army Materiel Command, Army's Aviation and Missile Command, the Missile Defense Agency of the Department of Defense, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. RSA has benefited from decisions by the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The Redstone Arsenal CDP had a population of 1,946 as of the 2010 census.[1] The base contains a government and contractor workforce that averages 36,000 to 40,000 personnel daily.

Originally a chemical weapons manufacturing facility for World War II, in the immediate post-war era it became home to the German rocket scientists that were brought to the US as part of Operation Paperclip. The team first worked on ballistic missiles, starting with V-2 ro

Redstone Arsenal (RSA) is a United States Army post and a census-designated place (CDP) adjacent to Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama, United States and is part of the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. The Arsenal is a garrison for a number of tenants including the United States Army Materiel Command, Army's Aviation and Missile Command, the Missile Defense Agency of the Department of Defense, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. RSA has benefited from decisions by the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The Redstone Arsenal CDP had a population of 1,946 as of the 2010 census.[1] The base contains a government and contractor workforce that averages 36,000 to 40,000 personnel daily.

Originally a chemical weapons manufacturing facility for World War II, in the immediate post-war era it became home to the German rocket scientists that were brought to the US as part of Operation Paperclip. The team first worked on ballistic missiles, starting with V-2 rocket derivatives before moving on to a series of ever larger designs. Many of their tests were carried out at White Sands Missile Range and flights between the two locations were common. In late 1956 the Army was relieved of most of its ballistic missiles in favor of similar weapons operated by the US Air Force. The German design team was then spun off to become part of the newly founded NASA. Redstone served as the primary site for space launch vehicle design into the 1960s.

Geography

Location of RSA in Alabama

Redstone Arsenal is located at 34°41′03″N chemical weapons manufacturing facility for World War II, in the immediate post-war era it became home to the German rocket scientists that were brought to the US as part of Operation Paperclip. The team first worked on ballistic missiles, starting with V-2 rocket derivatives before moving on to a series of ever larger designs. Many of their tests were carried out at White Sands Missile Range and flights between the two locations were common. In late 1956 the Army was relieved of most of its ballistic missiles in favor of similar weapons operated by the US Air Force. The German design team was then spun off to become part of the newly founded NASA. Redstone served as the primary site for space launch vehicle design into the 1960s.

Redstone Arsenal is located at 34°41′03″N 86°39′15″W / 34.684166°N 86.654031°W / 34.684166; -86.654031.[2] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Redstone CDP has a total area of 7.8 square miles (20.1 km2), all land.[3] Redstone Arsenal contains extensive wetland areas associated with the Tennessee River and several local springs, much of which is maintained by the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

History

Pre-1941

A total of 651 prehistoric archaeological sites were archived at Redstone Arsenal to date.[4] At least 22 have components dating to the Paleo-Indian period (9200 to 8000 BC). The Paleo-Indian projectile point called the Redstone Point was named after Redstone Arsenal where it was first identified.[5]

Euroamerican settlers began to establish homesteads on the land that is now Redstone Arsenal by the first decade of the 19th century. Prior to the Civil War, the landscape was dominated by several large plantations, the remains of which survive as archaeological sites. The land played a peripheral role during the Civil War with activity limited to the posting of pickets along the Tennessee River bank. Following the war, many of the large plantations were increasingly divided into smaller parcels owned by small farmers, who included former slaves and their descendants. By the start of the 20th century, many of the farms were owned by absentee owners, with the land being worked by tenants and sharecroppers. The remains of hundreds of tenant and sharecropper houses still dot the landscape around the installation.[6]

At the beginning of the 20th century, the approximately 57-square-mile (150 km2) area of rolling terrain, which contained some of the richest agricultural land in Madison County, included such small farming communities as Spring Hill, Pond Beat, Mullins Flat, and Union Hill. Although there was no electricity, indoor plumbing, or telephones, few roads, and fewer cars or tractors, the people who lived in the area that one former resident recalled as being "nearly out of the world" prospered enough to support their own stores, mills, shops, gins, churches, and schools. A total of 46 historic cemeteries including slave cemeteries, plantation family cemeteries, and late 19th to early 20th century community cemeteries are maintained on the installation as Redstone Arsenal cemeteries.

Huntsville Arsenal

Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), commanded by Maj. Gen. John Medaris, was formed on 1 February 1956, taking over from Redstone Arsenal the facilities and personnel of OGMC. Von Braun was the Director of ABMA's Development Operations Division. Redstone Arsenal then became an Army post, supporting the ABMA and, in the future, other agencies. Medaris also commanded RSA, and BG Toftoy was deputy.[17]

The ABMA's primary mission was developing and fielding the Army's first intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Jupiter. By August 1958, the system was delivered to the Air Force for early deployment overseas. Jupiter later proved to be a significant bargaining chip in the Cuban Missile Crisis. During his command, Medaris' operation also fielded the PGM-11 Redstone and MIM-23 Hawk missiles, accelerated the development of the Nike Zeus system, and began development of the MGM-31 Pershing missile system, which later played a role in ending the Cold War.[10]

As part of the 1957–58 International Geophysical Year, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union proposed to launch a scientific satellite. Although von Braun had proposed in 1954 that the OML could place a satel

The ABMA's primary mission was developing and fielding the Army's first intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Jupiter. By August 1958, the system was delivered to the Air Force for early deployment overseas. Jupiter later proved to be a significant bargaining chip in the Cuban Missile Crisis. During his command, Medaris' operation also fielded the PGM-11 Redstone and MIM-23 Hawk missiles, accelerated the development of the Nike Zeus system, and began development of the MGM-31 Pershing missile system, which later played a role in ending the Cold War.[10]

As part of the 1957–58 International Geophysical Year, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union proposed to launch a scientific satellite. Although von Braun had proposed in 1954 that the OML could place a satellite in Earth orbit, the Naval Research Laboratory, using its Vanguard rocket, was given this assignment.

On 4 October 1957, the USSR orbited Sputnik I, the first Earth satellite. A second Sputnik was launched a month later. On 6 December 1957, a first attempt to launch a satellite-carrying Vanguard failed. Toftoy, Medaris, and von Braun immediately pleaded for the opportunity to show what the Army's "space team" could do. The go-ahead was given and on 31 January 1958, America's first satellite, Explorer I, was placed into orbit using a modified Jupiter launch vehicle (a four-stage system designated Juno I).[18]

The Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) was formed in March 1958. Headquartered at Redstone Arsenal and commanded by Maj. Gen. Medaris, AOMC had several subordinate elements, including ABMA, White Sands Missile Range, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology. Another local activity, the Army Rocket and Guided Missile Agency (ARGMA), was formed and added to AOMC in June.[10]

Six months after Explorer I, President Dwight Eisenhower created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 29 July 1958. On 21 October 1959, he approved the transfer of all Army space-related activities to NASA. This was accomplished effective 1 July 1960, when 4,670 civilian employees, about $100 million worth of buildings and equipment, and 1,840 acres (7.4 km2) of land transferred from RSA/ABMA's Development Operations Division to NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). Von Braun was MSFC's first director.[19]

The U.S. Army Missile Command (MICOM) was activated on 1 August 1962 at Redstone Arsenal, absorbing all of the personnel, facilities, and projects remaining in the prior AOMC. On 12 March 1964, the Francis J. McMorrow Missile Laboratories were dedicated in memory of MICOM's first commander, who died while in command.

Dating from the start of AMC, Project Nike involving anti-aircraft missiles had been conducted. As the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) came into being, a much higher-performance

Dating from the start of AMC, Project Nike involving anti-aircraft missiles had been conducted. As the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) came into being, a much higher-performance system was needed for ICBM defense. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) examined the requirements and recommending a system, designated Nike-X, incorporating phased-array radars, high-performance computers, and separate low-altitude (Sprint) and high-altitude (Spartan) high-velocity interceptor missiles. To manage this development, in 1963 MICOM created the Nike-X Project Office headed by Colonel (later Brigadier General) Ivy O. Drewry.[10]

The People's Republic of China exploded its first thermonuclear bomb in June 1967. Hence, ABM system requirements were revised and the Sentinel System was born, replacing Nike-X.[20] In 1968, the Army Ballistic Missile Defence Agency (ABMDA) was formed, taking over Sentinel and other ballistic missile defense projects previously under MICOM. Commanded by BG Drewry, ABMDA established operations adjacent to Redstone Arsenal in the Cummings Research Park. In May 1974, all ballistic missile defense efforts were consolidated under a single manager in the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, which eventually evolved into today's U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.[10]

On 17 July 1997, the former Army Missile Command combined with the aviation portion of the U.S. Army Aviation and Troop Command (ATCOM), creating a new organization at RSA, the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM).[21]

Redstone Arsenal remains the center of testing, development, and doctrine for the Army's missile programs. Besides the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command, Redstone houses the Tactical UAV Project Office, Redstone Test Center (RTC), the Missile Defense Agency, the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and other operations.

After operating as a tenant on Redstone Arsenal for over half a century, the Ordnance Munitions and Maintenance School was moved to Fort Lee, Virginia.

Redstone Arsenal continues to host the Fort Lee, Virginia.

Redstone Arsenal continues to host the Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA's field center for propulsion analysis and development, which developed the Saturn rocket family in the 1960s and propulsion systems for the Space Shuttle in the 1970s and '80s.

Redstone Scientific Information Center (RSIC), a 450,000-volume library established by NASA and the Army in 1962, was shuttered 30 September 2019.[22] The cost-saving measure was announced by Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC);[22] selected documents from RSIC were acquired by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.[22]

As of the census[24] of 2000, there were 2,353 people, 487 households, and 446 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 300.8 people per square mile (116.2/km2). There were 879 housing units at an average density of 111.8 per square mile (43.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 56.5% White, 31.7% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 3.3% from other races, and 4.8% from two or more races. 9.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 487 households, out of which 79.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 79.7% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 8.4% were non-families. 7.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.48 and the average family size was 3.67.

The population was spread out, with 32.9% under the age of 18, 19.2% from 18 to 24, 43.2% from 25 to 44, 4.6% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 150.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 170.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $35,435, and the median income for a family was $40,208. Men had a median income of $29,053 versus $24,063 for females. The per capita income was $14,860. About 9.0% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the census[24] of 2010, there were 1,946 people, 343 households, and 301 families residing in the CDP. There were 379 housing units. The racial makeup of the CDP was 69.1% White, 20.8% Black or African American, 1.2% Native America

There were 487 households, out of which 79.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 79.7% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 8.4% were non-families. 7.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.48 and the average family size was 3.67.

The population was spread out, with 32.9% under the age of 18, 19.2% from 18 to 24, 43.2% from 25 to 44, 4.6% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 150.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 170.1 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $35,435, and the median income for a family was $40,208. Men had a median income of $29,053 versus $24,063 for females. The per capita income was $14,860. About 9.0% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

As of the census[24] of 2010, there were 1,946 people, 343 households, and 301 families residing in the CDP. There were 379 housing units. The racial makeup of the CDP was 69.1% White, 20.8% Black or African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 2.9% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. 10.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 343 households, out of which 68.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.6% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.2% were non-families. 11.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and none had someone living alone w

There were 343 households, out of which 68.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.6% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 12.2% were non-families. 11.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.27 and the average family size was 3.56.

The population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 36.1% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 5.8% from 45 to 64, and 0.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 203.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 249.6 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $53,142, and the median income for a family was $48,750. Men had a median income of $31,018 versus $25,500 for females. The per capita income was $24,739. About 0% of families and 0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

1956: Redstone missile testing on Static Test Stand

  • 1957: Contaminated land and buildings at RSA were reclaimed by Chemical Corps personnel.

  • 18 May 1963: Wernher von Braun with president John F. Kennedy at RSA

  • 18 May 1963: Wernher von Braun with president John F. Kennedy at RSA

  • RSA main gate c. 1964

  • MGM-52 Lance missile testing at RSA c. 1970

  • References