Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Atlas Rocket Assessment

Site
Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa, Canada

The Atlas 5A Rocket stood outside the Canada Science and Technology museum since 1973. On loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the rocket is one of several surviving from the early days of the United States space program. Exposed to the elements for over forty years, corrosion and its weight-saving design caused concern in terms of structural stability. The massive fuel tank is only structurally sound when pressurized from within by compressed liquid propellant. The museum used compressed air to maintain pressure, but leaks compromised the structure and caused concern of collapse. The vessel was removed from upright display for further evaluation. 

Conservation Solutions, Inc. (CSI) was contracted to assess the condition of the Atlas Rocket as well as provide a feasibility statement regarding its stability for transport and conservation treatment. Based on observations, the object was found to be in fair to good condition with some corrosion areas noted and expected exterior damage due to loss of pressure from within. A detailed report was provided as a general description to the client, as well as photographic documentation.