Get Adobe Flash player

The Rocket Garden

In The Forgetting Curve, Aiden and Velvet discover a hacker space in a junkyard full of space-related stuff–rocket fuselages, observatory domes, etc.   In the story, the debris came from a shuttered museum (and a defunct space program).


Redstone Rocket

Redstone Rocket


Surplus NASA observatory dome

In real life, I used to drive by Charles Bell’s space junkyard on State Route 3 on my way to work at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The place was jammed packed with aerospace cast offs, including rockets, mobile observatory mounts, and a supersonic transport (SST) fuselage. Bell was a retired NASA engineer who bought used equipment at surplus auctions and someday hoped to start his own museum. Sadly, he died before he could realize his dream.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find pictures of what the whole junkyard looked like. This Popular Mechanics article has some great pictures of parts of the junk yard.  (Notice the domed white structures. Those are the mini-mobile observatory domes I imagined being in my Rocket Garden.)  Photographers Richard Baker and Roland Miller have captured some images of Bell’s collection, which was auctioned off after his death.

BTW, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center does have it’s own Rocket Garden, but it’s far more orderly and pristine than I imagined the Forgetting Curve’s Rocket Garden to be.

The Rocket Garden at KSC's Visitor Center


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



"...a gift for both reluctant and regular readers.”

- Booklist

“…the themes of inquiry and fighting back will resonate
with young and old.”

-School Library Journal

“The novel is taut and lean; Smibert’s prose is quick and fluid…”
–Horn Book Magazine

“Engaging, spirited characters and a plot that can stand on its own…This story could provide great fodder for discussions about the relative roles of government, business and the individual in a world of increasing consolidation and conformity.”

—Children’s Literature