Support Needed: COVID-19 leaves beloved Space Camp in dire straits

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (KLAS) — Houston, we have a problem.

The beloved Space Camp that played a key role in inspiring a love for the final frontier in astronauts and other great scientific minds needs your help.

The US Space & Rocket Center sent a letter to camp alumni, revealing the COVID-19 pandemic has left the program adrift in the deep vacuum of financial troubles.

When the center partially reopened its doors after a lengthy closure, it reported only 20% of normal camp attendance and 40% of normal museum attendance. Both account for 90% of its annual revenue.

“The fall/winter camp season will be nonexistent given pandemic-induced travel restrictions for international students and cancelled trips for American Schools,” the center said in the letter.

Space Camp was founded in 1982, the idea of Dr. Wernher von Braun, developer of the Apollo-era rockets that took American astronauts to the moon, and Edward O. Buckbee, first director of the Center.

The camp has served over 900,000 trainees from around the world and played host to NASA and European Space Agency astronauts, engineers, scientists and technologists.

Although it has served our country’s galactic mission, the Center, as well as Space Camp, do not qualify for federal, state or local emergency assistance.

“We continue to seek funding, but time is short to make a difference for Space Camp,” the letter goes on.

The Rocket Center says is has worked to offset losses by cutting its workforce by 90% and implementing other cost-saving measures, but it has not been enough.

In order for Space Camp to lift off in 2021, it must raise a minimum of $1.5 million between now and October 2020. If you’d like to help “Save Space Camp,” click here.

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