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Space Race 3000 Guidelines

The Space Race 3,000
Version 1.0, March 28, 2015

© 2015, Iron Butt Association, Chicago, Illinois

Please respect our intellectual property rights. Do not distribute this document or portions therein, without the written permission of the Iron Butt Association.

Per Ardua…Space Race “Through struggle…to the stars”

Man’s quest to reach the stars is one of historic struggle and inspiration. Led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, American scientists, engineers, aviators and the industrial might of a nation, inspired the world. In laboratories of innovation, spread across the nation, NASA paved the way to the stars and spawned a technological revolution.

The “Space Race 3,000” IBA Challenge pays tribute to the legacy of all those who participated in the Space Race. The ride is modelled on the IBA Xtreme SaddleSore 3,000 miles in under 72 hours, with the added challenge of navigating to eight NASA waypoints along the route AND riding 620 or MORE miles than the standard SS3,000, but in the same 72 hours! That’s what makes this an EXTREME RIDE! The 8 Space Race waypoints are:

- NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, Pasadena, CA
- Edwards Air Force Base, CA
- Rachel, NV near Area 51 WARNING Use of deadly force authorized
- White Sands Test Facility, NM
- Johnson Spaceflight Center, Houston, TX
- Infinity Science Center, Stennis Rocket Research Center, MS
- US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL
- Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, FL


The Space Race 3,000 documentation requirements are those of the standard SaddleSore 3,000 miles in 72 hours and properly documenting that you rode to each of the Space Race waypoints listed above. The waypoint documentation includes a computer generated dated business receipt (DBR: date/time/city/state/odometer) from the nearest practical location, and a photograph of the designated landmark with your motorcycle in the picture. Since the waypoint locations may not be open to the public at all hours or may not have a means for providing a computer generated DBR, riders should plan to obtain such a receipt as close to the waypoint as is possible. SPOT location marking will also be helpful in verifying waypoint visits.


1. Start/Finish witness requirements are those of the SaddleSore 3,000.

2. The ride may start in either Pasadena, CA or Merritt Island, FL, documented with a DBR.

3. A DBR and photograph of each Space Race waypoint landmark with your motorcycle in the picture is required. NOTE EXCEPTION FOR JOHNSON SPACEFLIGHT CENTER DUE TO LOCATION OF SIGN.

The Space Race 3,000 Waypoint listing contains the location and landmark description for each of the required waypoints. LINK: WAYPOINT LISTING LINK: WAYPOINT GPX FILE

Use of satellite marking and tracking is encouraged. Using IBA supporter and friend SpotWalla to capture and display your SPOT marking/tracking is highly recommended.


See IBA SaddleSore 3,000


For those of us who grew up in the years of the moon race, who were born to Sputnik’s beeps, whose childhood heroes were named Yeager and Glenn, Armstrong and Aldrin, we can never forget the inspiration we received from them.

Part of the Ironbutt Association’s initiative to establish rides that commemorate the influences and achievements that lead others to challenge themselves, this ride celebrates many of the key activities and events of the Space Race of the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. As a rider follows the course, they mark their trip with stops at some of the most critical sites of that time – and today.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, Pasadena, CA

The ride starts (as the space program itself did) with unmanned travel. Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was arguably the first element (1936) of what became the NASA program. Early work on military rockets and assisted take-off systems for aircraft 111have been supplanted by the facility’s modern commission to design, build, and manage unmanned missions to both planetary and open-space destinations. Eat some peanuts when you stop here.

Photo – Entry to JPL campus, Pasadena CA. Sign is on northeast corner of Oak Grove Drive and Foothills Blvd, at entry of Hahamonga Watershed Park. Photo should include sign. Approximate coordinates – 34.19416, -118.17766 (my photo taken at 0430h local time)

Edwards Air Force Base, CA

Early near-space flight programs centered on Edwards Air Force Base. Home of the first supersonic flight, the X-15 and countless other test aircraft, and virtually every production military aircraft… This is a place you might want a steak dinner, but you never want your picture on the wall. You can’t stop for a beer at the Happy Bottom Riding Club any more – but you can stop for a photo at the north gate. That’s the resting place of Balls 8, one of the most critical systems in early space exploration. 111

Photo – North entry gate of Edwards AFB, CA. Enter from CA 58 on Muroc Road. Before reaching guard gate, enter parking area where B-52 is visible (requires turn left across road). Google search for Boeing NB-52B Mothership "Balls 8" if in question. Photo should include B-52 in background. Approx coords – 34.99325, -117.88336 (my photo taken at 0635h local time)

Rachel, NV near Area 51- WARNING Use of deadly force authorized

It took five decades for the government to admit its existence, but Groom Lake (better known as Area 51) has seen virtually every secret aircraft program that the rest of us haven’t. You still can’t ride or even walk to the base – the guys in the white Suburbans are on top of the hills, and they’ll have a little chat with you if you try. Instead, get a burger or a souvenir at the nearby village of Rachel and get your receipt at the Little A’Le’Inn. As you head back down the Extraterrestrial Highway, keep an eye out for the famous black mailbox – which isn’t black, and isn’t much of a mailbox. It’s about 10 miles south of Rachel on the west side of the road. 11Photo – Little A’Le’Inn, Rachel NV (closest documentable location to Area 51 / Groom Lake AFB). Get receipt from store (decent burgers). Photo should include sign. IMPORTANT – NO FUEL AVAILABLE AT THIS LOCATION. NOTE- receipts available only when shop is open, normally 8 am to 10 pm 7 days/wk. Plan your out and back trip carefully. Approx coords – 37.64677, -115.74571 (my photo taken at 1225h local time)

White Sands Test Facility, NM

In 1963, NASA needed a remote test facility to evaluate rocket engines. The White Sands Missile Range had some extra space (like a lot of New Mexico!), so this location became a key resource for ensuring the effectiveness and safety (as far as it went) of 111many early launch systems. Unfortunately, the site is only rarely open for visits.

Photo – White Sands Test Facility, outside Las Cruces, NM. NOTE – entry to facility is NOT possible, location for photo is at intersection of NASA Rd and US Hwy 70 at interchange for entry gate. Photo should include billboard, which is visible from NASA Rd and faces southwest. Approx coords – 32.42110, -106.61282 (my photo taken at 0740h local time)

If billboard is not accessible, has been removed or is otherwise unavailable, use nearby Space Murals Museum for backdrop – entry marked by sign south of the interchange. This sign may also be used as backdrop.

Johnson Spaceflight Center, Houston, TX

It’s hard to separate two men from the US space program – in fact, it’s impossible. The first was obvious, public and in front at all times: Werner von Braun. He was the ultimate expression of the famous reason why the US beat the USSR to the moon – “Our Germans are better than their Germans!” But the more important one was associated with another famous phrase – “No bucks, no Buck Rogers”. The man who made sure the bucks kept coming first got involved in the space program as a wheeler-dealer Senate member from Texas, and he made sure that Texas and other southern states got their share of government investment throughout NASA’s efforts, despite the tech-heavy concentration in the north and in California. As Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon B Johnson ensured passage of the act creating NASA, and shepherded its development from the Senate, the VP’s office, and the presidency.

111Even though Johnson came from the Texas Hill Country, he selected Houston for the primary facility for managing manned space flight – a role it still holds today. You won’t have time for a tour of Mission Control, but plan for one in the future.

Photo – Houston Manned Spaceflight Center (Space Center Houston), Webster TX (Houston suburb). Sign is located at entry to public facility, off NASA Pkwy. NOTE – it may NOT be possible to place your bike where it can be included in the photo! There are few other good photo locations that specifically identify the facility. THE REQUIREMENT TO HAVE THE BIKE IN THE PHOTO MAY BE WAIVED FOR THIS LOCATION. Approx coords – 29.55009, -95.09555 (my photo taken at 2300h local time)

Infinity Science Center, Stennis Rocket Research Center, MS

When the Saturn rockets for the Apollo program were designed, they were too big to be shipped overland to White Sands for testing. NASA decided to open a new location somewhere between the construction and launch locations, and it had to be where shipping barges could easily be sent. Just east of New Orleans in the Pearl River bayou, a raised terrace of dry land was selected to become the Stennis Rocket Research Center. While quieter today, the facility was vital to both the Apollo and shuttle programs. Its current use includes providing independent tests for both government and private rocket systems. 111

Photo – Infinity Science Center is the Visitor Center, Stennis Rocket Research Center (aka John C Stennis Space Center), Hancock Cty, MS (nearest significant communities are Slidell, LA and Bay St Louis, MS). Visitors Center for NASA facility are BEHIND the Mississippi State Welcome Center located off I-10 at MM 2. Follow access road, which has signs. Photo should include distinctive sculpture at front of the center. Approx coords – 30.312012, -89.604005 (my photo taken at 1035h local time) US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL

Huntsville is home to the Marshall Space Flight Center, and the Redstone Arsenal. From the post WWII era, this site saw the evolution of the German V-2 rocket into the Redstone rocket that was basis for both military and early Mercury program launches. 111The facility has gone from strength to strength, and since then has been home to development and support programs for nearly every NASA program including its current support for the International Space Station.

Photo – US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL. Access to facility is from I-565 loop at Tranquility Base Blvd. Photo location is in front of one of the main buildings facing north on this road, between the two main parking areas. Photo should include mock-up of SR-71. Approx coords – 34.71236, -86.65454 (my photo taken at 1730h local time)

Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, FL

The pre-eminent Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida has been the site of all US manned expeditions into space since the first orbital flights. It is also the only place on earth where a manned spacecraft has made a controlled landing on a purpose built runway (Edwards AFB’s site is a dry lake bed). Look across the facility and dream – you might hear the echo of the three sonic booms created by a space shuttle as it lands. You might also hear the voices of those aboard Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, or the astronaut trainees who died as they prepared for flight. Take time to read each name on the Space Mirror Memorial.

Riding a motorcycle, even long distance, is not as courageous or exceptional as the actions of those who participated then and take part now in the exploration of the universe. For many of us, though, challenging ourselves and encouraging others to push our limits is something that was grown in us, growing up with the space race. By taking this ride, you can explore your own capabilities and limits, while appreciating those who have shown the way.

111Photo – Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, FL. Preferred location for photo is the official Visitors’ Center at east end of NASA Causeway (FL 305). Photo should include sign at entry. However, construction, security and limited access hours may make it impossible to reach this location. If finish occurs during open hours at the Visitors Center, obtaining a receipt from there is encouraged! Approx coords – 28.523889, -80.679152 Suggested alternate photo location – US Astronaut Hall of Fame, Titusville, FL. Located at the west end of the NASA Causeway, this location is available 24x7. Building has signage visible from the street for background (this is what I used). Approx coords – 28.52742, -80.78299 (my photo taken at 0550h local time)


Q: Starting locations issues?

A: Eastbound – No issues, sign is located on public road. Westbound – NASA Visitors’ Center may not be accessible, use alternative noted above.

Q: Starting/Finishing DBR issues?

A: West start/finish - Obtain gas receipt in Pasadena area south and/or west of the sign location as there is no nearby gas station. East start/finish – Obtain gas receipt at nearest available gas station to west end of NASA Causeway to Merritt Island, unless NASA Visitor’s Center is open and a receipt can be obtained there.

Q: Witness requirement issues?

A: Start and finish witnesses are required consistent with IBA SS3000 and general rules.

Q: Routing option issues?

A: All route choices are at the discretion of the rider. Only the start, finish and waypoint locations are mandatory. If riding in daylight hours, CA 2 is a good option, but may not be safe when dark or if rider is tired; recommended ONLY if starting from Pasadena.

Q: DBR information at waypoint issues?

A: Most waypoints do NOT have nearby DBR resources that are available 24x7. Use of location marking by SPOT or similar tracking device is highly recommended, as is date and time stamping in the digital photograph. Obtaining DBR at nearest resource practical will assist in verification of the ride.

Q: Motorcycle related issues?

A: Range may be an issue in several stretches of this ride. Participants should plan carefully.

Q: Picture quality and size issues?

A: Low light conditions will occur – it is not possible to reach all photo locations during daylight. Check that your camera is capable of taking a recognizable photo when used at night.

Q: Fuel log issues?

A: Standard fuel stop logging is required.

Q: Any other questions that might arise regarding the theme of the ride.

A: Contact ?????????????? or the ride’s creator with any questions. Excellent online resources are available for more information on any of the NASA facilities. If time allows, riders are encouraged to return along the same route taking time for a tour or visit where the facility allows.