The Secret 10-Story Space Rocket Buried in the Swamps of Florida

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Image: Fred Szabries

There’s a secret in the swamp and it’s a big one. Roosting in a 180 foot-deep hole is the largest solid rocket booster ever built. When I say large, I mean big – really big: 10 stories tall and about 20 feet wide. This was a rocket that was originally intended to carry men to the moon, but it never made it out of the tomb that still conceals it.

Take a walk with me and be prepared to see something truly amazing. It’s a long walk, about 10 miles. And no, we can’t drive. There are steel barricades across the road and they are securely locked. I know who has the key. I’ll tell you about him later. For now, we have to hike it because he’s nowhere in sight.


Image: Fred Szabries

It’s going to be a hot walk, and maybe a wet one judging by the thunderheads building not too far away. Tread carefully and keep your eyes on the road. There are rattlesnakes and alligators around here. The alligators are easier to spot, but they’re surprisingly fast on land. If you see one, keep your distance. If he’s in the middle of the road, we’ll just have to wait him out. At times, there are also turtles and tortoises crossing the road. They’re obviously not dangerous, but the gators find them tasty, so if you see one, there may be a very large reptilian predator nearby. Get used to the mosquitos, flies, no-see-ums and other flying friends; they’ll be with us the whole way. I hope you’re not allergic to bee stings, because even if we had cell service out here, an ambulance couldn’t make it past the barricades.

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Image: Fred Szabries

If you look off to the east, you can just about make out some buildings. That’s not where the rocket is. As impossibly far away as that appears, it’s only the halfway point.

Putting one foot in front of the other, we slowly eat up the miles. How did a rocket come to be out here, 10 miles from the middle of nowhere? That’s a good question, and there’s a good answer, but it’s too hot to walk and talk at the same time, so I’ll keep that part of the tale to myself. You’ll just have to do your research when we get back.

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