In the mid-1950s, with the Cold War raging, Thiokol Corporation, a chemical company then well-known for its synthetic rubber, was becoming involved in the development of solid fuels for rocket motors. The company acquired a large piece of land at this remote site in the Utah desert to use as a rocket proving ground.
Since then, Thiokol has been known by various legal names over the years. It became notorious as Morton-Thiokol at the time of the Challenger disaster in 1986, then became ATK Orbital Sciences in the 2000s, and today has been absorbed by Northrop-Grumman. Despite all these corporate vicissitudes, the test facility is still in use, and this open-air display features mock-ups of the various rocket motors that have been developed and tested here over more than half a century.
In the garden, you’ll find dozens of examples of military and space exploration equipment, including a booster used on NASA space shuttles as well as various missiles.
Know Before You Go
From Interstate 15/84 at Brigham City, go west 2.5 miles on Utah State Route 13, bearing left where it turns into Utah SR 83. Continue 17.5 miles on UT 83 to where it intersects County Road 7200 N at Lampo Junction. A sign here will indicate a left turn for the Promontory Point historic site. Do NOT turn left here but continue another 1.8 miles on Utah 83. The ATK Rocket Garden will be on the right just off the road.
While in the area the Promontory Point historic site, where the eastward-building and westward-building parts of the Transcontinental Railroad were joined, is an easy side trip.