HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A fundraising drive has reached its goal of bringing in $1.5 million to save Space Camp from closing because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said.
A corporate donation of $250,000 by the technology company SAIC Inc. pushed the effort over the top, officials said in a statement Tuesday.
Nearly 8,000 people and companies from three dozen countries contributed to the “Save Space Camp” drive in the week it took to reach the goal, and donations will continue to be accepted. The largest donation came from the Boeing Company, which gave $500,000 to the effort last week. Boeing employs more than 3,000 at its Huntsville facilities supporting missile defense, engineering and space missions.
Space Camp is an internationally known educational program run by the state-owned U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Leaders said the pandemic has hurt revenues so badly that donations were needed to continue operating the museum and to reopen Space Camp in the spring.
Nearly 1 million youths and adults have attended Space Camp since it opened in 1982, and a dozen people who went on to become astronauts or cosmonauts participated.
The Space and Rocket Center was closed from mid-March through late May because of the shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, and Space Camp, which features students working in groups on simulated space missions, did not reopen until late June with a limited capacity.