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Fire damage to space museum in Huntsville not as bad as feared

HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Damage to Apollo artifacts caused by a blaze at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center was not as bad as initially feared, officials said Tuesday.

Workers at first believed an instrument unit from a Saturn V moon rocket was destroyed by the fire, which occurred Monday in a building that houses buses. But a closer inspection revealed the huge ring was saved, aside from paint that bubbled because of the heat.

"From the angle we had it looked like the whole building was going," said museum spokesman Al Whitaker. "They did a phenomenal job of stopping the fire from getting into the bus repair shop and where the artifacts are stored."

Whitaker said a nose cone from the launch escape system for a Saturn V test unit was scorched, but it can be repaired and will likely be displayed when the museum's new building opens in January.

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Information from: The Huntsville Times, www.al.com/hsvtimes/hsv.html

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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