North Hollywood junkyard serving private rocketeers

Goal
Two private rocketeers examine an Apollo era engine.

Los Angeles Times reports on Norton Sales Inc., a North Hollywood junkyard that stocks NASA’s surplus rocket parts. It has now become a galaxy of delights for private rocketeers.

Through most of its history, the space junkyard has served as part museum and part fantasy camp for wealthy collectors willing to plunk down thousands of dollars for a piece of an Apollo rocket. Some of its best customers have also been car customizers looking for cheap, spaceflight-grade hydraulic valves.

Now, after decades of NASA’s dominance of spaceflight, private rocketeers are launching their own commercial space industry — and they are flocking to Norton Sales, junkyard of the stars.

Norton has supplied parts to most of the new space rocketeers, including Burt Rutan’s Mojave, Calif.-based Scaled Composites, which built the first privately funded manned craft to reach the edge of space, and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. in El Segundo, which launched the first privately funded craft to reach low-Earth orbit this month, though it malfunctioned after half an orbit.

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