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About Huntsville

183,739 in city
557,715 in metro
451 km² (174 mi²)
182.882223848 m
Located in the Appalachian Foothills, along the northern bank of the Tennessee River in north central Alabama, Huntsville is the state's fourth largest city and seat of Madison County. In 1805, John Hunt, for whom the city would later be named after, first settled the area where the city would later be established. The city would see rapid growth and in 1819, it was here that the first state constitution was drafted in getting Alabama admitted into the Union. The city would continue to see growth and by the mid-1800s would become the cotton-trading center of the Tennessee Valley. Huntsville would continue to be Northern Alabama's leading political and economic center through the turn of the 20th century. In 1950, an event would occur which would forever change the city. It was in this year that former Alabama Senator John Sparkman would move 50 German scientists into the city's Redstone Arsenal to develop rocket technologies for the U.S. military. By the end of the decade, the rocket, which powered America’s first satellite, was developed in the Arsenal. Later on, the facility would develop the rockets that powered the missions to the moon in the late 1960s and 70s. Today, Huntsville remains a leader with high-tech industries, and continues to see rapid growth within the region. The city has become known worldwide as the "Rocket City" due to the continued research and development of rocket technologies still carried out within the city. The city is also the home of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space Camp, which attracts students from around the world each year.