HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 28, 2020)—The U.S. Space & Rocket Center and its internationally beloved Space Camp are in jeopardy of closure due to devastating economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to remain open for future generations of visitors and campers, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp are launching a “Save Space Camp” campaign. The campaign is seeking donations from Space Camp alumni, residents of Alabama and the millions who have visited from around the world in order to continue Space Camp’s mission of education and inspiration.
The “Save Space Camp” campaign must raise a minimum of $1.5 million to keep the U.S. Space & Rocket Center museum open past October and to reopen Space Camp in April 2021.
On March 13, 2020, the Rocket Center closed in keeping with state health orders intended to combat the surge in coronavirus cases. The museum reopened in late May, but with far fewer than normal visitors. Space Camp did not reopen until June 28, and then with only 20 percent of its usual attendance. With limited admission from international students and school groups this fall and winter, Space Camp will again close for weeklong camp programs in September.
These ongoing challenges have meant the devastating loss of two-thirds of revenue. In May, the Rocket Center laid off one third of its full-time employees and was unable to employ an additional 700 part-time employees who typically work in all areas of Space Camp and the museum. The majority of the remaining full-time employees have been furloughed since April.
At this time, local, state and federal agencies have had limited ability to help the Center through these difficult times. However, we firmly believe that failure is not an option, and we are turning to the public for support.
It is important to save Space Camp, not just for the foundation it has laid for hundreds of thousands of successful careers in aerospace, engineering, science, education and other fields, but also for the economic impact the program and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center provide. According to the most recent economic impact studies, the center generates $120 million in annual revenue for the state of Alabama and serves as a magnet for visitors to Huntsville. The Rocket Center has been the top paid tourist attraction in the state for seven straight years.
The mission of Space Camp and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is too important. It must continue.
For more information on the “Save Space Camp” campaign, please visit savespacecamp.com.
About U.S. Space & Rocket Center
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is home to Space Camp®, Space Camp® Robotics, Aviation Challenge® and U.S. Cyber Camp as well as the Apollo 16 capsule, the National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket, the INTUITIVE® Planetarium and world-class traveling exhibits. USSRC is the Official Visitor Center for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and a showcase for national defense technologies developed at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal.
To learn more about the exciting programs and activities at the USSRC, go to www.rocketcenter.com.