The city of Kent and the Kent Downtown Partnership have applied to receive historic landmark designation for the Lunar Roving Vehicles built at the Boeing Space Center and used in Apollo Missions 15, 16 and 17 in 1971 and 1972.
These Lunar Rovers were the first “moon buggies” to allow humans to explore more of the Moon’s surface.
A virtual public hearing in front of the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is set for 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23 via Zoom. If successful, Washington will become the third state in the country, behind California and New Mexico, to list lunar objects in its historic register.
“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 Roving Vehicles and their brilliant engineers.”
This year marks the 51st anniversary of Boeing winning the NASA contract to develop these Lunar Roving Vehicles. In an engineering feat, Boeing built these vehicles in only 17 months for six astronauts to safely explore the Moon’s landscape. The most successful missions to the Moon were made possible through the Lunar Roving Vehicles.
“This is an historic opportunity to highlight a world-class innovation from Kent,” Mayor Dana 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.
“Having the Lunar Rovers listed on our state’s register of historic places is a way to not only profile our region’s role in NASA’s historic Apollo Program, but also its continuing role in space exploration to inspire today’s kids, our future workforce. These historic contributions paved the way for future space exploration and technology. That is a key component of our application.”
The eight-member King County Landmarks Commission in 2019 unanimously granted the city of Kent landmark designation for the three lunar rovers.
Click the following link to attend the State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation hearing:
Meeting ID: 962 8623 1251