Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Aerojet-Dade Abandoned Rocket Facility (Homestead-Everglades)

Aerojet Dade was opened in the mid 60's as a contractor to win NASA's bid for a rocket to send man to the moon. Three rockets were tested here between 1967 and 1968. When NASA decided to go a different route on the type of fuel used to power the rocket, Aerojet lost the bid and left the Miami-Dade Facility abandoned. It has been abandoned since 1969.
Yes, you may call it my craziest adventure yet; but to an experienced or even amateur UrbExer it isnt at all crazy. Access is pretty easy but the remoteness can have you wondering: Where the hell am i? Why does my Iphone not have service? What was that noise? I have been here twice already and so far I havent fell into a trap door, encountered homeless, enountered law enforcement, or been attacked by the zombies of the everglades. The road to this place is actually a nature trail built by the South Florida Water Management District-the government entity which owns the property. When you arrive down the long stretch of road there are a series of locked gates. Not hard to get around, they were made so pedestrians and bikes can go through. There are no gates to access the Aerojet facilities area which contains about 9 abandoned buildings. However at the last gate the only way is to straddle the gate like a cowboy and easily make your way over. This is the last stretch of road to get to the Rocket in the silo which is about 4 miles away.

My first time I was with two friends with no bikes. What were we thinking? I guess we weren't. The facilities took us about 2 hours to get through as the property is large. However the Silo is miles away and what seemed like a long unending road turned out to be a long unending road. The silo was in sight but didnt seem to get any closer. We decided another day and next time we would bring bikes.

The second time I returned with just one of them. We rode our bikes this time just to the Rocket Silo, the trip took about 20 minutes each way. When we got there it was a sight to see. Although the SFWMD consistently comes out to put boulders in front of doors and weld metal back over spaces that shouldnt be open, UrbExers seem to always figure out a way around ;-). In the silo there is a huge round cover over the rocket 
However there are a few tiny openings where you can see the Rocket

On our way back on the second trip we saw what looked to be a police car and a truck on the other side of the last gate where I parked the car. I was nervous, were we in trouble? Did they see us in a helicopter? Why am I so paranoid? As we came closer we saw that the "cop" car was actually an old pontiac that had a bike rack on their car (fellow explorers), and the truck was a white SFWMD van. He had keys to the gates and went down to the last gate and then rode back out. Not sure what this was for but at least we didnt need to pick our bicycles up over a gate for the 6th time as he waited for us to exit then locked the gate back up.

This is a great trip and I highly suggest it for you adventurers and mild risk-takers. Alligators are in the area as well, giving you the ability to get some good pics. Below are more photos from both trips....enjoy!

                             Some Edits below