Shuttered Astronaut Hangout Destroyed By Fire

Shuttered Astronaut Hangout Destroyed By Fire
The smoldering remains of the Outpost Tavern, a former astronaut hangout near NASA's Johnson Space Center, burned down in a fire on Oct. 15, 2010, months after closing in January. (Image credit: Robert Pearlman/ [Full Story])

HOUSTON- The Outpost Tavern, which for over two decades served as a popularastronauthangout in Webster, Texas, was destroyed by a fire Friday night.Thecause of the blaze, which was wellunderway when the Webster Police Department was called to the scene at10:30p.m., is under investigation. [Photo:Astronaut hangout burnsdown]

"There was no electricity running to the building," assistant firechiefRick Vargas told "It is certainly suspicious."

Vargasand his fellow firefighters were onsite on Saturday morning dousing the still smolderingpile of debris with water and foam.

Vargassaid that none of the tavern's trademark astronaut and spacememorabilia thatonce lined its walls had been found among the burnt remains.

"Justkegs and other bar-relatedstuff," said Vargas.

The Outpostclosed inJanuaryafter its property owner sold the land on which the bar and grill satsince1965. Prior to that, the building was located at nearby EllingtonField, whereit served as barracks for airmen.

Soonafter it was closed, landlord WalterWright had the building movedthe shortdistanceto a neighboring lot, with reported stated plans to convert it to afamilyrestaurant.

Wrightclaimed that Outpost proprietorStephanie Foster had removed "thousands of dollars" of spacememorabilia prior to the building being shuttered, according to mediareportsfrom January.

Fridaynight's fire caused enough structuraldamage to the building that firefighters had to call in a backhoe toknock downits walls.

Seemore photosof the OutpostTavern fire from

Copyright2009 rightsreserved.


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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.