Feb. 18, 2023
by Samantha B. Fortune, Bricklyn Eagle Health & Science Reporter & David Plater Blue, Metro Desk Reporter
Showcasing an imposing BASA BrickR-4 rocket,📍 Bricklyn’s new Space Flight Park has opened to the delight of many Bricklynites.
📍 BASA is the Bricklyn Aeronautics & Space Administration, comparable to America’s NASA.
The BASA BrickR-4 rocket, used in several 1990-era launches,📍 will serve a new mission: as the central attraction in the newly dedicated “Space Flight Park.”
📍Unknown to most, Bricklyn’s BASA BrickR-4 rocket’s design has — with adjustments for scale — been used as the model for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket being used for the Artemis space missions. Unfortunately, NASA has not publicly credited BASA for its’ pioneering 1992 rocket design!
The BrickR-4 rocket displayed in Space Flight Park is no longer functional, and has been emptied of fuel and other equipment. But it still evokes memories of the salad days of Bricklyn’s space flight program, a program that, with the cooperation of the League of Inland Cities, also involved astronauts from three other Inland communities.
Space Flight Park: How the Pieces Came Together
Jerry Plater-Zybrick, head of the Legotary told the enthusiastic opening-day crowd that “Space Flight Park offers a dramatic, unique experience,” adding that “the Legotary is proud to have supported its assembly.”
The idea of restoring one of Bricklyn’s old rockets, and in the process creating a downtown park honoring Bricklyn’s space flight program, came from members of the Bricklyn Legotary.
Many in the community responded, helping the Legotary raise the funds needed to transport the giant rocket to its new home. Volunteers, including half a dozen members of the Bricklyn Laborers’ International Union, helped build a new gantry tower. The tower was closely modeled after the original gantry, unfortunately disassembled and discarded twenty years ago.
Winifred Tiler Jackson, Chief Historian of the Realm, noted that “it’s incredibly important that we preserve and celebrate key parts of Bricklyn’s history, and here we have one of the actual rockets used to send Bricklynites into space.”
As Tiler Jackson added, “the project is more than just a preservation project, it’s also a project that has built pride among Bricklynites in what our small Realm can accomplish when we pull together.”
Chamber of Commerce head Tom Brickorti stressed that the park would rapidly become a major attraction not just for Bricklynites, but for visitors, and noted that “the funds being put into developing the Park will be more than repaid by money spent in Bricklyn by new visitors who want to see our magnificent Space Flight Park.”
City Planning Director Tim Brickedy and members of the Planning Commission were among the first to envision this novel park, recognizing it as a great fit for this long underutilized space in the heart of downtown.
Brickedy chuckled in recounting that, “some nearby residents and office workers thought we would be launching rockets from the middle of downtown, but we reassured everyone that the rocket on display would be fully decommissioned, and empty of fuel or any other equipment. It’s not going to be blasting off!”
To help implement the project, the Planning Commission last year recommended, and the Federal Council adopted, a zoning change that increased the maximum height of structures in the downtown district from 15 to 20 inches. This allowed for Space Flight Park to display a BrickR4 rocket which, along with its platform, comes to 19.5 inches in height.
Looking Back, But With Hope for the Future
Posing beside one of the new signs for Space Flight Park we found Bricklyn Astronaut Sue Tiler Torres, with Alicia, her seven-year old daughter.📍
📍Sue Tiler Torres was one of the last group of three astronauts certified for flight in 2012. But none have yet been in space, as funding for the space program was slashed the following year. Only several unmanned flights took place between 2013 and 2018. Since then the Bricklyn space program has been on hold.
For Tiler Torres, the new Space Flight Park is “a hopeful step towards reviving the moribund Bricklyn space flight program.” As she adds: “When citizens of the Realm of Bricklyn, are so beautifully reminded of the wonders of space flight, and how much we accomplished just three decades ago, I hope they will support efforts to better fund our space flight program now.”
Alicia also had a few words to share with us: “The new park is so very cool. I love it! I’m going to be an astronaut like my Mom one day, and I’m going to go to the Moon!”
Rocket Moving Day Photos
Finally, credit is due to the Bricklyn Department of Public Works, and workers at the railyard, for helping in the complex, multi-stage move of the rocket and its boosters from the railyard to downtown.
Booster rocket leaves railyard en-route to its new home downtown.
Booster arrives downtown along West Street.
|Crew off-loads the booster rocket near the entrance to Space Flight Park.|
Reader Responses to this Story:
To the Editor: “I live in the third floor apartment on Upper North Street that is right next to the so-called Space Flight Park. This park will soon be a noisy hang-out for young people with nothing better to do day and night. Or even worse, it’ll be filled with that doomsday Preacher Johnny Kahn and his gang.
Will the police keep an eye on goings on in the park? Or will they just hang out at the police station eating donuts all day like my good-for-nothing son Homer? I bet we all know the answer to that question!” — Abraham Jebediah “Abe” Simpson II (Grampa Simpson)
To the Editor: “I take this occasion to congratulate the people of Bricklyn on their achievement in opening Space Flight Park. Folks, the story of Bricklyn is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never, ever giving up. It’s a story unique among all LEGO nations. You are writing the next chapter in the great Bricklyn story.
When world leaders ask me to define Bricklyn, and they do, believe it or not, I say I can define it in one word, and I mean this: possibilities. Bricklynites, you don’t think anything is beyond your capacity. Everything is a possibility. You’ve proved it again today.” — U.S. President Joe Biden
To the Editor: “Very interesting that letter from U.S. President Joe Biden you received. Sounded a bit familiar to those of us who sat in The Exchange building connected to the Outland Internet watching him give his “State of the Union” address. Say it ain’t so, Joe!” — John Tiler Quincy, South Bricklyn, VT