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SpaceX Falcon 9 replica at USA Expo 2020 pavilion at the Expo site. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: A replica of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will greet visitors at the United States pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, John Rakolta Jr, US Ambassador to the UAE, revealed on Wednesday during a media tour.

SpaceX, the rocket company of high-tech entrepreneur/billionaire Elon Musk, represents a historic milestone for US space exploration as it is the first private company with an operational system to launch astronauts to-and-from space. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket recently launched Crew Dragon spacecraft ‘Resilience’, carrying a Japanese and three American astronauts, marking the first manned trip to the International Space Station from American soil in nearly a decade.

According to the US Mission to the UAE, the US pavilion will “feature the tallest item on Expo 2020 Dubai grounds: A one-to-one scale replica of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. At 14 stories tall, Falcon 9 is the first orbital-class rocket capable of re-flight. Falcon 9 is the most-flown operational rocket in the United States, overtaking expendable rockets that were launched for decades”.

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US Ambassador to UAE John Rakota Jr addressing the media on Wednesday Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Rakolta noted installing a replica of the SpaceX rocket is the best representation of the US pavilion theme which is ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Future’.

He added visitors to the US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, which will now be held from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, after being postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will get an understanding of the past, present and future development of American space exploration. In a statement sent to Gulf News, the US Mission to the UAE, added: “Our state-of-the-art exhibition will recognise how US leadership in the space sector is charging forward to make space accessible to all.”

Star-spangled pavilion

The US Mission also announced the “completion of substantial construction” of the US pavilion. Ambassador Rakolta was assisted by Ulrich Brechbühl, US Department of State Counsellor, in installing the final star that completed the star-spangled pavilion.

The shape of the US pavilion, which is located in Al Forsan (North Park), is circular to the project movement and gives the impression that the building itself is in motion. The pavilion will also showcase US technologies, including hyperloop, and display Moon rocks brought back from the Apollo 12 mission. It will also feature a full-scale replica of the Apollo 11 landing site as well as other National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) memorabilia.

When asked during the media briefing whether US President-elect Joe Biden will visit the Expo, Rakolta replied: “It would be brilliant if and when he will come.”

He earlier said the US pavilion will showcase a cultural programme, bringing in artistes and performers from across the US. “They will represent their territories and regions as America’s cultural ambassadors at the Expo, Rakolta said, adding that the cultural programmes will display “the geographical and cultural richness of the United States and its territories”.

Did you know?

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket derived its name from a legendary fictional spacecraft. It was named after the Millennium Falcon, the iconic Star Wars spacecraft, while the number 9 represents the 9 Merlin engines of the rocket’s first stage that burn cryogenic liquid oxygen and use rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) as propellants.

Amin Rashmani, managing director of Thinkwell EMEA, designer of the US pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, told Gulf News: “The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the US pavilion is a one-to-one replica. It stands at 42 metres high. The rocket represents the democratisation of space exploration and enables space travel in a safe environment.”