A Lunar Rover on the Moon surface. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent/Boeing

A Lunar Rover on the Moon surface. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent/Boeing

Lunar Rover Vehicles built in Kent receive state historic landmark status

Buggies still on the Moon from Apollo trips in early 1970s

The Lunar Rover Vehicles built by Boeing in Kent received designation as a Washington state historic landmark.

The Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation unanimously approved the designation at a Oct. 23 virtual meeting.

“Thanks to all who logged in to cheer us on, submit letters, provide testimony and celebrate this history-making endeavor,” said Michelle Wilmot, who led the campaign, in an email. “It was truly a team effort that wouldn’t have come together without the excellent contributions by so many.”

Washington is the third state in the country, along with California and New Mexico, to have objects on the Moon named as historic landmarks.

“Having the Lunar Rovers listed on our state’s register of historic places is a way to not only profile our state’s role in NASA’s historic Apollo Program, but also its continuing role in space exploration,” Wilmot said.

The city of Kent and the Kent Downtown Partnership applied to receive historic landmark designation for the Lunar Rover Vehicles built at the Boeing Space Center and used in Apollo Missions 15, 16 and 17 in 1971 and 1972.

“Kent Valley is rooted in rich aerospace history due to Boeing’s early presence and a world-class, specialized workforce that continues to develop innovative technology,” said Boeing historian Michael Lombardi in a city news release. “This region’s impact on space exploration has global significance, and we’re pleased to honor the achievements of these Lunar Rover Vehicles and their brilliant engineers.”

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said prior to the vote how important this was for the city.

“This is an historic opportunity to highlight a world-class innovation from Kent,” Ralph said. “These vehicles are still on the Moon today; this recognition will share a piece of Kent with the region, state and even the world. Today, a new generation of visionaries is redefining space exploration including the mining of asteroids, ferrying tourists to the outer reaches of inner space and designing systems that will take humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond.”




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