1965 260 in. motor

In 1957, Sputnik was launched, being the first human-made object to orbit the Earth; an event that sparked a space race of who can get to the moon first, between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1963, the U.S. Air Force gave Aerojet General, a major rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer, $3 million to start construction of a manufacturing and testing site in Homestead.

Aerojet acquired land for the plant, less than five miles from the Everglades National Park, paying $2.50 an acre per year for an annual lease with an option to buy up to 25,000 acres more at nickels on the dollar. A proposal was made to dig a canal from the facility to Barnes Sound on the Atlantic Ocean. The C-111, now known as Aerojet Canal, was dug even though it was close to the Everglades National Park, as economic development of the region won in favor of any environmental conflicts the canal would cause. The canal would be used to barge the rockets from the facility to Cape Canaveral as well as barging the needed equipment in.

A small debate arose on whether to use liquid-fuel rocket engines, solid-fuel rocket motors, or a combination of both. Solid-fueled rockets were best favored in the initial launch, able to lift over 100,000 pounds of payload through the atmosphere. But once free of Earth’s orbit though, liquid-fuel seemed to be the best route to go.

Aerojet-Dade Rocket Facility | Photo © 2012 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Aerojet now needed a cylindrical chamber that would withstand the force and power and space-faring rocket would cause. After much researching, the decided to subcontract the fabrication of 260-inch-diameter, 24m long chambers to Sun Ship and Dry dock Company located at Chester, PA. The chambers were designed in short-length, meaning half the size of what the final product would be, hence the names given to the test rockets, SL-1, SL-2 and SL-3. Both motors used a propellant burning rate and nozzle size appropriate for the full length design and were capable of about 1,600,000 kgf thrust for 114 seconds.

In March 1965, two rocket chambers were delivered to the plant. At the time, the C-111 canal was not yet complete, so the the rocket chambers were barged down from Sun Ship to Homestead via the Intracoastal Waterway and then trucked in from Biscayne Bay. The large amount of propellant needed for such a rocket was manufactured at the Everglades plant. As the chamber was trucked three miles south of the main facility to the test firing site, the propellant was mixed, analyzed, and produced to fill the rocket motor chamber.

Between Sept. 25, 1965 and June 17, 1967, three static test firings were done. SL-1 was fired at night, and the flame was clearly visible from Miami 50km away, producing over 3 million pounds of thrust. SL-2 was fired with similar success and relatively uneventful. SL-3, the third and what would be the final test rocket, used a partially submerged nozzle and produced 2,670,000 kgf thrust, making it the largest solid-fuel rocket ever.

Near burnout, the rocket nozzle was ejected, causing propellant made of hydrochloric acids to be spread across wetlands in the Everglades and crop fields and homes in Homestead. Many residents of Homestead complained about the damage done, which included paint damage to their cars and killing thousands of dollars worth of crops.

Aerojet-Dade Rocket Facility | Photo © 2012 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

By 1969, NASA had decided to go with liquid-fueled engines for the Apollo’s Saturn V rockets, causing the workers of the Everglades plant to be laid off and the abandonment of the facility. In 1986, after NASA had awarded the Space Shuttle booster contract to Morton Thiokol, Aerojet sued the State of Florida and sold most of it’s land holdings to the South Dade Land Corporation for $6 million. After many unsuccessful attempts to use the land for farming, the land was sold off again to the state of Florida for $12 million. Aerojet would later trade it’s remaining 5,100-acres in South Florida for 55,000 acres in New Mexico.

In February 2010, Rodney Erwin, representing the Omega Space Systems Group, made a proposal to the Homestead City Council to resurrect the vacant Aerojet facility as a new rocket plant. Though Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman supported the plan, pushing the need for jobs, the water management district immediately shot down the idea.

Aerojet-Dade Rocket Facility | Photo © 2012 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

In early-2010, the district made plans to overhaul the damage done to the wetlands by the C-111 canal. The canal had been sucking water that once flowed into Florida Bay and piping it 20 miles the wrong way, ever since it was dug. Parts of the facility have been scrapped and the doorways to the buildings have been blocked off by mounds of dirt.

South Florida Water Management(SFWMD) dismantled the shed which sat over the silo around May 2013 and the silo itself was covered with concrete bridge supports. Aerojet Road, which ran 3 miles south of the facility to the test firing site, is now a nature trail. The future of the space relic remains unknown.


  1. Nomeus is a hard act to follow!

  2. Fletcher?

  3. Awesome Video of Aerojet!

    • Hello

      I live in Miami …..
      Do you have plans to go again sometime soon ………….??

      I have Donews some urban archeology in Berlin …. very interesting
      But never in my own town ….. LOL ,,,,,,,,,,,

  4. It’s the wierdest, strangest place I’ve ever been (and I’ve been to a few). I wandered around down there in 08 and 09. I’m sure glad you got photos and video. It’s history. One omission; all the strange new reptiles you’ll see when you go down there. My son and I saw a monitor lizard (dark red scales, 2 ft in length, snubby nose, glinty, beady, hungry eyes).

  5. I worked there summer 1965. Are you interested in what I can tell you about my time there?

    • Hello I was reading up on the Areojet facility and I was wondering if you could provide me with information about what happened to the facility after it closed down. If you could get back to me I would be ever so grateful. Thank you so much.

  6. I was there when the rocket engine arrived. It was towed from the barge with a huge White tractor, I had never seen one that large. They stopped in front of the building I worked in and I got a good look at it. It then moved on to the big hole in the ground. It was about three miles from us and it took almost two hours to get there. I first worked at the silo site helping do NDTing on welds. I remember leaning on the hand rail and looking down into the silo and saying, this all looks like a waist of money to me. The fellow with me said, you’re working ain’t ya? I had to admit it was pretty dumb thing to say.

  7. This place is Awesome, I go shooting there with my friends all the time. The place is pretty dead and isolated, but lately, on the weekends I’ve been seeing more people there, usually fishing on the docks….

  8. Can anyone please give an address I can search or directions from West Palm Beach to the facility?

    • did you ever het the address. I would like to see it from Google Earth

      • The address is posted all over the net and multiple times in these comments. If you do decide to go, I can’t tell you guys enough to be careful. Some days, it’s a quiet stroll through the park. Other times, there’s kids with guns shooting at you and scrappers trying to run you over with dirt bikes.

        • AS resident manager in charge of constructing the Dade County rocket plant , I have a complete set of construction progress photographs, from day one through plant construction completion.

          Anyone interested in how the plant looked upon completion, please contact me.

          • I sent you an email.

          • Are the site construction photos posted anywhere? I worked at the AFRPL in the 80s and drove by the 260 in nozzle regularly. It would be great to see the facility construction photos. I was supprised that they were not full of water.

          • i would love to have anything you have on the constrution & an pictures.i worked there 64-67, i worked the fuel building & run the mobile crane- part time. thank you for any reply.

          • would like to no when finished & any pictures .

          • Would love to see some pics

  9. corner of SW 392 St (SR-9336) and SW 232nd Ave, Homestead fl. Follow SW 232nd Ave south and its at the end of the road, google earth it.

  10. N 25 21′ 43″ W 80 33′ 44″

  11. Thanks for sharing CE Smith!

  12. Thanks. I just ran across this site looking for it on google maps. I actually hired on there with my cousin. We were put on separate shifts, I got the night shift mixing fuel. I didn’t know they had more than one building mixing fuel. We mixed in batches and the other one was a continuous operation. The finished stuff was a thick pink colored about as thick as pancake batter. When it set up it felt like dry silicone caulk. We mixed it and transferred rubber tired buggies that we’re towed to the engine about 3.5 miles away. It was then poured I guess into the mold placed in the middle of the engine. The mold was made from stainless steel and was shaped like a shamrock or three leaf clover. They placed a vinyl liner in that and filled it with the fuel. I assume that when it set up they pulled the liner out. I don’t know how deep the liner was down in the engine because I couldn’t see the bottom from ground level without a light. When they were training us, they wanted to impress on us how flammable some of the ingredients were. They took one of them, atomized aluminum, and covered a pair of the white Areojet G coveralls they made us wear, and wired them with a cap and touched the battery. The went up like flash bulb. The old kind. There wasn’t anything left but ash and it happened instantly. It was interesting to say the least. That they would take a dork off the streets and let him mix fuel for a multi-millon dollar rocket!

  13. I looked at the photos in the interview link above and saw a pic of what I think was the big floor scale we used to weigh the different ingredients, some of which were in the hundreds of pounds. Two main ingredients were iron oxide and atomized aluminum. We handled the drums with a fork lift truck.

    • CE Smith: Can you please e-mail me? My contact e-mail is at the end of the video. I would like to talk to you regarding the facility. I am finishing a documentary and would love to have more info.

  14. How do we preserve the rocket? It is a major part of history that ought to be on display in a museum.

    • According to South Florida Water Management, anyone who can come up with the funds to remove the rocket can have it.

  15. So, is the site open to the public, or a prohibited area? We would like to visit and have a look around, some time. Thanks!

  16. I grew up in Miami Springs and I was down there when they lit SL-3 off.. A friend of the family was involved with it in some way and they day they were going to fire it he asked me if I wanted to go when they fired 260-2. We were pretty far away, several miles at least and I remember it was slightly overcast, maybe some light rain.. As soon as it fired it burned a hole in the over cast and the sound was defening. I also remember it chuffing the propellent out at the end of the test run but I never knew how much damage it had done.. Great web piece.. Thanks

  17. I worked at the now defunct fish farm that was on the same road in the late 90’s. Guys that I worked with had been on the farm since the late 80’s, they say that the buildings were all clean and in good working order pretty much until Hurricane Andrew (the fish fam staff rode out Andrew in one of the Aerojet buildings). After that things began to erode. The real degreadation came in the mid-90’s when Arojet offically handed over management to SFWMD. Up until then the fish farm staff were given caretaker status by Aerojet and did a decent job of keeping scrappers and others out. After that, when the public was free to come in, the place went downhill fast. Also, the remark about not eating fish from those canals…I wouldn’t eat fish from ANY of South Florida’s FW canals!

  18. I was the resident manager in charge of constructing the Dade county plant. This facility was designed to eventually produce solid rocket motors capable of developing 80 million pounds thrust. One could theoretically launch a rocket the height of the Empire State Building. Sadly after construction completion, at the presentation to the Air force ,we were informed they elected not to proceed with the project.

  19. Stanley.. Would you be available for an interview? Please let me know. jim@mevoimage.com


  20. Good info. Lucky me I ran across your site by accident (stumbleupon).

    I have book marked it for later!

  21. i worked there for first live run of fuel till after last motor was fired in 1967. is there anybody in homestead that i could talk to. i am going to visit there verry soon.
    thank you for any feply.

    • Just came back to see the progress at the site and was sad to hear it was being sealed up. Art I was there too at the time you were. I got laid off before they fired the motor but was home in Leisure City and could see the smoke and hear it without a problem. My cousin worked the night shift at the same time. He was injured in a accident on the way home. Maybe you heard about it. The fellow he was riding with was screwing around jerking the steering wheel back and forth slinging Bill against the rear doors. One door popped open and his legs went out far enough that the rear tire caught his foot and pulled him from the car. He was taken to Dade General and they patched him up. He never got back to work there though. I worked one of the fuel mix buildings helping a African-American fellow who knew what he was doing. He was a young guy too and we had fun . Our boss was a Latino but I don’t remember his name. I remember that the room where the iron oxide was stored was about 180*. It in and out on the fork truck.

  22. Arthur… I am going back to finish the documentary I am working on. I would love to include you in an interview…

    feel free to e-mail me. jim@mevoimage.com

  23. arthur lemaster

    i am planing on being in homestead , 3-13 / 3-14
    can we meet there

  24. Best article I’ve seen documenting this place yet! I’ve gone out there 3 times in the last few months, and it’s phenomenal to take it all in. I’ve only gone at night so far, on cold nights, having bonfires out there with friends. It’s wild. Would love to hear about the documentary as it develops, and if there’s any way to meet up with some of the people that actually worked there at the time like Arthur, Stanley and CE Smith out at the site, that would be amazing. Keep me informed, Jim! Thanks!

  25. Might it be possible to organise some form of “unofficial” guided tour around this site, preferably with people who used to work there and can describe what we are seeing in detail…?
    Thank you.

    • I wonder if there would be some way to raise money to get the thing out of there and into a museum…

  26. My contact at SFWMD said they would love to have it removed, but they don’t have the budget or funds to remove it. To remove it, they would need to bring a crane and crew in. He said if someone were to pay to have it removed, they could have it.

    I would love to find a museum that would fund the operation…..

    • The problem is, its so damn big.

      Are you aware of what theoatmeal did for tesla’s property when it went up for sale? He raised over a million dollars to save the property and put a museum up on it. I wonder how we could do something like this.

      Do you, or anyone else for that matter, have any idea what the cost would be to pull it out of there? to transport it wherever. What about some of those museums up in the DC area…

      There has got to be a way this can happen…

  27. I agree. I would love to see it in a museum. I don’t know the cost, but was told it would cost too much to have it removed. From what I understand it takes a special crane that has to be assembled on location.

    If anyone has any ideas/contacts, I would be happy to help any way I can…

    • I was thinking I could shoot an email to the oatmeal guy and see if he had any ideas. Is there any way you could find out what the cost would be? Or can you put me in contact with anyone who does?
      Is there anyone you know that might know how to do something about it?

      I would really like to see something like this done.

    • John Vincent Gomez-Iglesias


      Fan of your site for a long time, so long that I might be a registered user, but I am not sure.

      I have been thinking the same thing Rico mentioned, for a while now. Could some of us organize an Indigogo or Kickstarter fundraiser like the one done for the Nicholas Tesla’s museum?

      I was wondering about maybe contacting the Miami Museum of Science which is currently in the process of building their new site next to Bicentennial Park… I have ‘an in’ with some of the board members by friends that work at the museum.

      Wouldn’t it look awesome displayed on the grounds of the museum overlooking Biscayne Bay? Like at Cape Canaveral!

      Just a thought, eh?

      John Vincent Gomez-Iglesias

  28. arthur lemaster

    is it posible to drive into the plant now or do i have to clear with someone , if so who.

    • Well, It is trespassing, I’m not sure exactly who owns the property now, but I doubt they would let anyone out there. I think your best bet would be to drive out as far at the gate and walk the rest of the way, although it is a long way from the gate to the buildings.

  29. I am very interested in going sometime in within the next month, If anyone would like to join me please feel free reply to this comment.

    Also does anyone have any tips for when i go?

  30. come very early like before the sun comes up around 6:00am cause u can only drive to the yellow locked gate from there its either by foot or bike and if your gonna hike it its gonna be 3 to 4 hours one way to the rocket bring about a gallon of water per person and some snacks bring sum bug spray and I would suggest head net for the deer flies its a paved road all the way out but be careful of the monitor lizards taguas lizards tons of pythons and cotton mouths and of course the gators also stay away from the first buildings once u walk past the yellow gates there a lot of police training going in there through the weekend and jet pack testing and u can eat the fish in the canals but in moderation just like all fish in the everglades because of the mercury levels but the do not recommend eat the pythons cause there mercury levels are extremely high

  31. I visit the location just about 3-4 times week to fish. Great location to do some fishing for bass and peacock! A lot of the buildings are taking a lot of damage thanks to the smart ones that have no respect for history and mother nature. First building when you come up the road is just about in pieces looks like someone set a bomb off in it as the old bathroom has been blown to pieces. I enjoy the location very much wish there was more pictures of what it looked like before it was closed.

  32. how is the fishing in jan, or is it better later

    • Randy Rodriguez

      Summer time is best for fiahing in thia location. Nearing season is coming up soon thia month and you can deop a bare hook and get bites! Jamuary is ok but the cold water doesn’t help to much with the fish.

      • Randy Rodriguez

        Ok that comment above was grammatically horrible…

        Summer time is best for fishing in this location. Nesting season is coming up soon this month and you can drop a bear hook and get bites. January is ok but the cold water doesn’t help to
        Much with fiah.

  33. I worked there in 1965 on both the 10 foot and 20 foot diameter cases. Looking into the hole that was dug to set the units for test was awesome.

  34. I have an in with SFWMD. I know for a fact that if funds are raised to remove the rocket from the silo, they can have the rocket. I made the video, I don’t own the site. If anyone would be interested in helping collect funds for the removal, please e-mail me. My e-mail address is at the end of the video.

  35. I was told it was the cost of a crane and semi. Apparently the crane would need to be brought in and assembled on site. The silo building is being removed as we speak and cement slabs are being placed over the silo to prevent anyone from entering. I was told the crane would need to be big enough to lift the rocket out of the silo and then replace the cement slabs. A flat bed semi would need to be used to remove the rocket from the location. I wasn’t given an exact amount but was told it would be in the tens of thousands. NASA isn’t interested in the rocket because of the relationship with NASA and Aerojet regarding the facility.

    I would imagine that some museum would be interested.

    If the funds were raised, I would donate my time and personally get the ball rolling…

    • On shutdowns where I worked we sometimes hired huge cranes. Once we had a 400 ton rubber tired crane. They come in and set up fairly quickly. I would think the problem would be getting to another site. It was brought in on a barge and the truck that pulled it to the silo was huge. Picture an over the road tractor, now double that, that’s about how big it was.

  36. does anybody no what happened to the 120” 7 does anybody remember me .i worked in the fuel bulding

    • From what I understand, Aerojet first thought about the 120″ but it never went past being a concept and decided bigger is better. You’re saying they actually built it?

  37. as i remember the 120 was fired 1 time the 260 2 times

  38. Well, does anyone know a specific address that can be put on a GPS to find the location of the silo?

  39. Does any one know how deep the silo is? im planning a trip with a group of 5 friends in 1 month. Also, looking at the google maps of this place, it looks like there is enough trail to get around the gate… if you have a truck of course. we are prepared to walk though

  40. arthur lemaster

    i believe it is about 120 ft

  41. Here’s what it looked like a few days ago. They had a crew out there dismantling the shed which covered the silo. From what my friend tells me, who took the photo, officials there don’t mind people going out there to check it out but have had issues. He was told just a few days ago, they caught some guys who brought in a generator and a blowtorch to try and cut a bigger hole in the silo opening.

  42. Once the building is removed, the silo will be capped with cement.

  43. I went out there today with a couple of friends. One of a few (4?) gates were open. you could drive up about 3/4 of the way to the processing facility, and the rest is quite a walk. It took us about an hour an a half both ways. You only have to jump over one fence, (the rest are only for vehicles) Once you get there, the only thing left standing is the bones of the structure as posted previously, all entries to the test engine have been sealed with welded on metal plates, with various warnings spray painted on. Currently, the only way to access it is to cut a new hole. The missile is still visible from the surface through the grating where the diamond plate rusted away.

    As to previous questions about accessibility by truck, I would think that would be impossible, or undesirable. one of the gates that prevents passage reaches all the way to swamp on either side. Google maps does the place a disservice, all things that do not appear paved on google should be assumed to be swamp, it’s fairly deep though I’m not exactly sure how deep, but it dissuaded several people on ATV’s.

    I find it very difficult to believe that, without blow torching the locks on all three closed gates that it would be possible to get into the holding area with a generator and the equipment necessary to open a new hole in the metal.

    It is a shame though, very cool while it lasted.

    • also, I just wanted to add that they haven’t capped it yet, though it appears that they are doing it in the very near future.

    • Lots of people calling it a missile recently because of an article written by NPR. It’s a test motor for a rocket, please don’t spread misinformation.

      Thanks for the update as well.

  44. I was just there recently and the building was in the process of being torn down. Are they really planning on capping it with cement? I would think that a museum would be interested in the rocket engine. It’s a real disappointment to hear that it would soon be pointless to visit this site.

  45. arthur lemaster

    would like to have all that you have of plant when built. i worked there 63 -67 &would like anything on what took took place after i left.

  46. I wonder if one can hunt pythons at this site. If not, can someone suggest good places to find and hunt pythons? Thanks.

    • My friend told me he actually first found out about this place by looking for good places to hunt pythons. He later found one in the general area.

  47. I work as a security guard at Aerojet in the mid 80’s. I worked the nite shift from 7 to 7. At night very dark no lights. The grunting sounds of gators and the constant plane drops of weed and airboats all nite long. The hole in the ground was awesome you would have had to see it to believe it. There was only one guard per shift which made it a very long nite. The illegal activity out in the swamp kept me awake.

  48. took a run by there Wednesday morning. Was a little too hot to make the trek out to the site, but was quite intrigued by the abandon prison facility near the entrance to the Aerojet complex. Can anyone give any information on this? I work for the DOC and as yet have not been able to locate nay information. I will be back to made the journey to the Aerojet complex when the heat of summer dies down

    • hey lynne, is the prison accessible? I plan on being in Miami in July, would like to get some more info

    • Lynne, South Glades Youth Camp. Haven’t found much information other than the name.

      • I was the wilderness specialist for Southern Glades Youth Camp. It existed in the Aerojet Road from 2000 to 2006. While I was there patrolling that area with our incarcerated youth there was no vandalism. That all happened after I left. I told the idiots at SFWMD and FFWCC that would happen once we left and no one would be there on a full-time basis. Frank (305) 710-9106

  49. The only thing that is left is the fence.

  50. I think the site has been capped

  51. Was at the site today, rocket has been completely sealed with 10 concrete beams sitting on top of the hatch. No feasible way to see the rocket what so ever anymore. Another piece of history ruined. However all the facility buildings are still standing and easy to explore

  52. Here’s a couple crappy iPhone photos, but you get the idea underneath the beams there is black shrink wrap there is a possibility that the hole to look down in is between one of the beams, but I didn’t check didn’t have a knife on me to cut through the wrap.


  53. Well that didn’t work….here’s a direct link to the album


  54. I was resident manager in charge of constructing the Dade county rocket plant.
    The plant was designed to develop a rocket with an 80,000 pounds thrust, the entire, entire rocket assembly would have been nearly as tall as the Empire State building. I have the original construction progress photographs, viewing job progress from start to finish.
    Upon project completion, at an air force presentation with Dan Kimball Aerojet COB, Bill Zisch Aerojet president and myself we were informed by the Air force representatives in attendance, Air force had no interest in the project. This occurred before the token static test firing were made. A substantial number of the comments posted regarding the rocket plant are inaccurate.

  55. arthur lemaster

    i think we are talking about two diferent places.never heard what you said before. would like to see your photographs

    • WE are talking about the same facility. My progress photographs capture the construction from start to finish. I was also director of the first national bank of homestead, as well as resident manager in charge of constructing the rocket plant. Master plan was to float the solid rocket from the plant site out to the ocean, sink the rocket to launch position, bring up the instrument ships and launch. Structural integrity could be incorporated within the solid propellant, conversely a liquid rocket of this amount of thrust would require fuel tanks with walls so thick and heavy they would have a serious impact on payload.

  56. I’m going to contact Jeff bezos. He is the amazon CEO that retrieved all the Apollo boosters from the ocean floor. He is a huge NASA history buff. He might just have an interest in this.

    • If he does, let me know. I have a ton of contacts from working on the documentary and would be happy to share them.

      • Jim, just recieved email back from Jeff’s people. They are requesting more info on this site, lets keep our fingers crossed. This thing just might see the light of day again.

        • Awesome!! Awesome!! Awesome!! I have all the documentation from Aerojet as well as NASA regarding the rocket. I would be happy to share the info when they are ready. Fingers Crossed!!! :)

    • Let me know how it goes.

  57. Has anyone on here been to the bottom of this thing lately??? We are trying to find out the condition. Is it partially submerged in water?? Any Info would be appreciated

    • From what I understand, the rocket doesn’t reach the bottom of the silo. It’s sits about halfway in the silo; the bottom half of the silo is submerged but the rocket motor sits above the water. You can see a clearer picture here.

  58. I haven’t been in the silo, but I did send a camera down while I was there filming. The bottom shell of the rocket is submerged, but surprisingly not much. It’s amazing that it’s in the middle of the everglades and with the water table the way it is, the silo isn’t completely full!

  59. I know someone who worked there back in college, or is the documentary over?

  60. Any updates on this? Just found out about this today, very curious.. kind of sucks its been blocked off =/

    • I haven’t been back since that guy was shot in the head there so I’m not too sure what’s going on over there.

  61. i just found out about this place recently and i would love to visit, any info on where it is and how to find it would be very appreciated. thanks.

  62. Site has been closed off due to the body of our dear friend Jesus Trejo was found after he was murdered. Justice will be served and We miss him dearly. I wanted to do some research of my own. As a young girl I was told it was an insane asylum and to this day believed it was. Many of my friends have visited the site, but I never had the guts. I decided to find out what it really was. It was always a fun place for teenagers to get a good scare but never did I think that some one would use it to kill a beloved friend. His body was found in the canal half eaten by gators. Exteamly sad day for the city of homestead. R.I.P Jesus Trejo

    • I was there the other day for the first time and found out about Jesus and Chris it’s a very sad situation 2 young men body’s found in less than 3 months R.I.P to both of them… Btw the “insane asylum” is not actually this place… The asylum is right off Krome and SW 8th street not as desolated as the Aerojet-Dade which is miles deep in the Everglades. Aerojet is way too desolated… And yes the Aerojet Road has been closed off by a gate (because of the body’s found) which is still assecible but this means now you have to park your car and walk miles along the canal… It’s sad to think people out there would use such place with history to take the lives of these two young men and because of this I will most likely not be going back. R.i.p

      • The place off Krome was not an insane asylum. It used to be a Nike missile radar communications and control facility.

        • Yes that’s correct but to miami residents it’s known as the “insane asylum” but everyone knows it never was

  63. I just spent the last few weeks taking some trips down to Aerojet Dade to both areas. I can add that the salvage teams have taken quite a bit from all of the buildings around the Cast and Cure complex (the shed) and the Fabrication and Development complex to the north. It is interesting that there have been efforts made to block access into certain doorways and buildings altogether by piling gravel and moving large boulders in the way along with welding metal handrails onto other doorways.

    You can see an example of the doorways being blocked here:

    It is possible to still see into the silo, though it required a good flash to get any shot whatsoever. You can see what it’s like between these beams in this photo:


    The site seems to be pretty active these days as I’ve been running into a lot of people fishing, hiking, and biking the roads through my visits. A lot more than I have ever seen before.

    Finally, my condolences to the family and friends of Jesus Trejo. I hope justice is served for you.

    • What did the bags contain in image 7264?

      • Nevermind. Enlarging the photo shows them to be some sort of absorbent made by Grace Chemical. Appears to read “Proten-sorb”. By the way, thanks for providing the incredible photos!

  64. can you still walk around the site or is it completly blocked & no entry ? was there in march , could walk in then, please let me no

    • You can still walk in but they’ve put a huge tall locked fence in the beggining of Aerojet Road (you can still find a way across it) because of this you have to park and travel by foot miles in the Everglades before reaching the Aerojet buildings.

  65. Is this thing simply a rocket casing or an entire assembly still containing solid fuel propellant?

  66. nasanut, yes the bags are a desiccant made of silica gel called “Protek-Sorb” that are just larger older versions of the stuff we use these days. Also, the engine in the silo is just the casing as the propellant was all used up during the last engine test as further production ceased.

  67. have they sealed the roads off or can you still walk in to look around & fish

  68. I was there last week. everything is open. I took a skateboard all around the whole complex.

  69. I was lucky enough to see the rocket at Aerojet myself in 2012. I went with a group of friends in order to get there we all went in Atv’s. The gates were were closed off so we had to lift the Atv over the gate in order to get to the Rocket itself. We went in every building there all rusted and inside they had a lot of wires and old things they used in order to control things at the Aerojet. When we got to the rocket we entered the big rusted shed and we saw the rocket. Above the rocket it looked like a subway grating. You could see right thru it. The floor that looked like a subway grating was so rusted and delicate that if you would have stepped and walked on it you probably would have fall into the silo. Its sad that they had to cover it up. Now you cant see nothing! It was a piece of history

  70. Great documentary. It is stated in the documentary that the casing left in the silo is SL-2, even though SL-3 was the final one to be fired. Any known reason for this?

  71. is there any new develoments at the site, would like to visit again

  72. Did the Amazon guys ever respond about getting the engine out?

  73. would like to visit about 4/1/15 can i still get in, live in wv , would appreate any help . thank you

  74. Any updates as of today as to if there’s anything left to photograph and if it’s still accessible. I know I’m a little late to the table but I’ve just recently become interested in this kind of photography and am looking for something like this since I’ve had no luck yet in the Palm Beach County area.

  75. anyone know the name of the bar that was on aero-jet road back in the day?

  76. arthur lemaster

    there was a store that sold beer a little ways down the road toward homestead, they had tables set out in front of store, we would stop there sometimes. don;t no name sorry

  77. ok,ya thanks.i never went there that i know of,but im sure dad did.we moved from aerojet hq in sac in 1963 to homestead,i was only 3 then.not even sure what year we left to go back to cal,but no doubt when the news came out that the contract was lost to liquids.

  78. arthur lemaster

    who was your dad i may have known him

  79. Russel Murphy-we lived in a house in homestead,i have been trying to figure out the address but no one is left that would know.

    • arthur lemaster

      not sure about name, been a long time, do you no what or where he worked. might help me remember i worked in the fuel bld. is he still alive

      • He worked all the time like a lot of those front line guys…I wonder to this day how he got that job with a 6th grade education….except,I remember his brother was civil service for aero-jet….liquids.Russel was in solids…..he ended up doing over 30 years with the company.
        passed around 1996 out there in Folsom ca.

  80. Remember the plant well. Moved from Sacramento when I was 7. I fished many times with my father in the canal. I even attended the last firing. I was about 11. I sat next to several Air Force Generals. After the firing one of the supervisors came and got me and I went down to the control room where they fired the rocket from and then to the site itself. I remember the bits of black propellant on the ground and my dad warning me not to tough them as they were hot and would burn me.

    I also remember the first firing. We lived in south Miami near Flynn’s Dixie Ribs (great food). You could definitely see the flames, we saw them easily. It was a very exciting time. If I can find them I have several pictures of the plant from the mid-1960s. They are old polaroids, don’t know how I could get them posted but I’ll see what I can do. It seems quite a different place now.

    Dad worked for Aerojet for years. Started in Southern California and moved to the northern plant in the late fifties or earlier sixties. Remember well the explosion at the plant, I was probably about 5 or 6 maybe. Dad was burned on his legs and was home for a while. That didn’t stop him though and he went on to work at the Homestead plant and was a supervisor and then I believe a manager there. When it was closed down we moved back to Northern California and he worked at the Sacramento location for awhile. He worked on the space shuttle boosters until the contract was awarded to Thiokol.

  81. is there anybody still in the area that would give me some information i plan on going there in a week or so , get back to me if so

  82. If they hadn’t capped it when you went kudos to you because i was trying to do research on it and some person had said that it had been capped with concrete so you cann’t get to the rocket.

  83. Christopher Richert

    I use to maintain the old AeroJet Drawbridge up until its demolition in 2009. It was out of service but I structurally checked it and repaired it since it was still a traveled road way. Everything was still in tact. Is there anyone out there that remembers that bridge ever being opened for barges? I heard from the Dept of Transportation that it was opened twice, but there are no records and no photographs.

  84. We went biking last weekend on Aerojet Rd riding all the way to the end. We checked out the abandoned buildings etc. It was really cool and creepy all at the same time. About a mile or so prior to the first buildings was a large cement area enclosed with Razor Wire. We couldn’t figure out what it was used for. It looked like some sort of holding area?

    Any ideas what this could be?

    • That used to be the Southern Glades Youth Camp. It was operational in the early 00’s and demolished several years ago after it shut down.

  85. Sad to see how much the facility has deteriorated. First time I visited was in 2004 or so. Since the youth camp was operational at the time and we were concerned about getting caught, we parked out on Ingraham Highway and biked down the gravel path by C-111. There’s the remnants of some old foundations down by the canal, probably what was supposed to be the loading docks?

    Anyways, we trekked back north a bit and approached the facility from the east. There used to be a road that connected the facility to C-111, but it had been demolished. This was before Google Maps was a thing and, at the time, the aerial imagery we used from Terraserver still showed the road in place. Rather than backtrack, we decided to just push on through the knee deep water with our bikes. It was about a mile walk and not very pleasant. Luckily it was winter, so the weather was nice.

    Just west of where the paved road once again began, there used to be 2 large concrete pads, which have also been demolished. That whole area is now once again swamp. If you look at the latest satellite imagery, you can see what I’m talking about. Approaching the facility from the east would be crazy now since the distance from C-111 to the paved road that runs west-east is now about 3 miles!

    A few things I’ve seen there:
    – LOTS of spent simunitions casings. These are basically small paintball like rounds that are fired from regular firearms.
    – Some of the buildings have very interesting, oval-like holes blasted into the walls. Like others have mentioned, it seems like a lot of police and possibly military training has gone on here.
    – Found some old airliner seats in one of the buildings along with a filing cabinet with a printed label that said something about flight 592. This was an airliner that crashed out in the Everglades back in the 90s. Not sure if any of this stuff was actually related to some kind of investigation into the crash.
    – LOTS of schematics and paperwork. Sadly all this stuff was likely looted or hauled off.

    I’ve got tons of pics, let me know if you’re interested!

    • I would love to see those pictures!

    • Hey cheese Patrol, Those seats were possibly parts of the Valuejet 592 airliner that crashed in the everglades in 1996. The Aerojet buildings were used for storage during the investigation, though I find it hard to believe they would just leave evidence there after the NTSB completed their investigation.

      I hung out with some Florida Urban Explorers back in 2002-03 or some such and saw all the amazing pictures (and video!) of the rocket that they shot while visiting. I had been there a few times over the years but did not realize how much was still there.

  86. harry r. clements

    Apparently not remembered is that the largest rocket motor nozzle ever built, for Aerojet’s SL-3 (I didn’t remember that designation) was not built by Aerojet, but Rohr Industries’ Space Products Division – in Riverside, California. I was the General Manager of the Division and was invited to witness the firing – which was a high light of our activities for NASA, and, yes, I want us to have credit for it. We went on to have the production contract for the launch motors for the Air Force Titan III

  87. Anyone who wants to hear my story and info on the Aerojet Road and the Southern Glades Youth Camp that was in that road from 2000m to 2006 is welcome to write to me or email me. I was the wilderness specialist in the area for almost 8 years. Knew the area like the back of my hand and explored every building with our incarcerated youth for over 6 years continuously. It was a great place and its canals were great to swim and canoe in. Never had an accident nor an attack by all the wild creatures in the area. It was heaven while it lasted: We hiked, biked, canoe, kayaked, fished, and kept the whole area clean and safe for years! Our own wilderness park! We cried when we left…

    We re-named it: Sunny Southern Glades! Frank Resillez (305) 710-9106

  88. The attached link describes the particulars of the 260″ Aerojet solid rocket.


    On another NASA document (cannot find) it was mentioned of the extensive analysis done to predict possible damage caused to a fully loaded rocket (8 million pounds??) that might occur on the barge trip from Everglades to Cape Canaveral. Other major engineering difficulties were involved with getting the fully loaded rocket casing out of the casting pit and transporting to the barge. The same problems would occur in Cape Canaveral trying to unload and vertically erect the rocket into a launch configuration. NASA deemed the problems and costs excessive.