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Space and Rocket Center saved by public support

Space Camp has been saved. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville has received the $1.5 million in public support it needed to avoid permanent closure.

A $250,000 donation from SAIC on Tuesday afternoon pushed the effort past the mark needed. SAIC, which is an abbreviation of Science Applications International Corporation, is a government contractor specializing in information technology services. The donation came exactly seven days after the effort was launched.

More than 8,000 people contributed to the online fundraising campaign, which was billed as Save Space Camp, with some donations as small as $5 and one, from Boeing, worth $500,000.

Contributors came from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
Officials from the Rocket Center say the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had decimated their revenue streams and forced them to shutter Space Camp for the foreseeable future.

The iconic location faced permanent closure in October without public support. It will now stay open with proper sanitation protocols in place, and Space Camp will resume in April 2021.

When the $250,000 from SAIC that was announced Tuesday is added to the $500,000 given by Boeing last week, the credit for saving the Space and Rocket Center is split fairly evenly between private citizens and Huntsville’s business community.

As of Tuesday at 4:40 p.m., $1,532,620 has been raised in total.

“For more than 50 years, SAIC employees have proudly called Huntsville home, and we stand strong in support of this community. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is facing an unprecedented challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact beloved institutions across America, and we are honored to have the opportunity to help,” SAIC CEO Nazzic Keene said in a statement to WAFF.

“[T]hey pushed us over the top,” remarked U.S. Space and Rocket Center CEO and executive director Louie Ramirez about SAIC on Tuesday.

“With this gift, the company is helping us sustain our museum operations in the coming months and enabling us to bring back Space Camp strong in the spring. They are true community partners,” he added.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: [email protected] or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

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