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The campaign began July 28 with the hope of raising a minimum of $1.5 million to sustain museum operations and to be able to reopen Space Camp in April 2021.
“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,” said SAIC CEO Nazzic Keene. “By ensuring that the USSRC continues to operate during these extraordinary times and encouraging others to contribute, we can secure our nation’s STEM leadership far into the future.”
“This monetary support from SAIC is monumental,” said USSRC CEO and Executive Director Louie Ramirez. “Not only have they pushed us over the top of our initial campaign goal, but SAIC once again proves to be a major supporter of the Rocket Center. They have long provided us with vital IT infrastructure support and provided expert advice on improving the center’s wireless network. 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.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the Rocket Center, which closed March 13, 2020, 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.
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.