Mission accomplished. U.S. Space and Rocket Center raises $1.5 million in 8 days

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These camps have put smiles on faces for decades. Photo via U.S. Space & Rocket Center on Facebook

Great news, Bham. After getting the news that Space Camp was in trouble, public support poured in from all over. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center surpassed its $1.5 million fundraising goal in just eight days. Check it out!

Houston, we have a problem.

Masks are a new addition to camp. Photo via U.S. Space & Rocket Center on Facebook

Last week, we published an article spreading the word about a big problem. Alabama’s beloved U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville announced that unless they raised $1.5 million dollars, they would have to close permanently in October.

They launched (get it?) a GoFundMe page called Save Space Camp with a lofty goal. After reporting a devastating two-thirds loss of their revenue, they put out the call for support.

“At this time, we have exhausted all funding possibilities, and without your support the U.S Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp will have to close in October.

However, we firmly believe that failure is not an option, so we are turning to you. We need the support of our fellow science enthusiasts, Space Camp alumni and anyone who believes in the spirit of exploration to help all systems return to go.”

Now if that’s not the best fundraising call you’re ever heard, I don’t know what is.

Shooting for the Stars

There’s a whole universe out there to explore. Photo via U.S. Space & Rocket Center on Facebook

Just eight days after sharing the $1.5 million goal, over 8,193 individual donors have stepped up with donations ranging from $5 to more than $1,000.

As of August 6, the fundraising total stands at $1,553,731. They’re more than $50K over their goal, and they reached it two months early. The largest donations came in from Boeing at $500,000 and from SAIC at $250,000.

Another notable donor? Nick & Terry Saben made a donation of an undisclosed amount, according to this article. All the big, impressive donations are wonderful, but my favorite part was reading the comments from the $25, $50 and $100 donators.

A Galactic Impact

Astronauts, engineers, teachers—a Space Camper can become anything. Photo via U.S. Space & Rocket Center on Facebook

With over 1 million Space Camp alumni all over the globe, these programs have impacted countless lives throughout the years. When you donate, there’s an option to leave comments about why you’re contributing.

One glance through these and you’ll start to get a glimpse of the love people have for this institution. Even as someone who’s never visited for myself, it was so special to see.

One grandmother wrote with her donation, “Our son attended three times, I attended adult camp 31 years ago (!) and took our granddaughter to family camp last year. I want her to be able to attend on her own in a year.”

Another man shared his reason for contributing: “Two-time Space Academy attendee, I want them to be around for my son to attend!” If you need some extra positivity in your life, visit the fundraising page and scroll through the comments. You’ll be smiling in no time.

On the Horizon

This outpouring of support will carry the U.S. Space and Rocket Center through the winter and allow them time to plan for “a future filled with Space Camp and scientific discovery.”

One former Aviation Challenge Crew Trainer weighed in on why he thinks this is an institution that deserves to stick around for a long, long time:

“The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is a staple in the Huntsville community. Huntsville wouldn’t be the place it is without NASA, and the U.S. Space and Rocket center tells that story. Many people come through the center/space camp and learn STEM hands-on. Many campers have gone on to be pilots and engineers.  

The Space and Rocket Center has been home to many memories over the years and has given so many people opportunities they wouldn’t have without it. It’s only right that future generations get the chance to experience the same thing.”

Kyle Williams, Former Aviation Challenge Crew Trainer, U.S. Space and Rocket Center 

What’s next? Well, that’s written in the stars.

Mission accomplished, Alabama. Onward.

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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