Tuesday night, the Saturn V Rocker at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center glowed in green to mark a big accomplishment in the save the space camp fundraising campaign.
"We are one week out and today thanks to our friends at SAIC, we have gone over our $1.5 million mark," Pat Ammons, director of communications said. "We are ecstatic."
$250,000 from SAIC in Huntsville pushed the campaign past its goal Tuesday. Last week, the Space and Rocket Center said $1.5 million was needed to keep it from closing its doors due to the impact of coronavirus on its ability to host visitors and camps.
"I think we are all a little, just sort of stunned at how quickly this has happened, and how grateful we are," Ammons said.
However, $1.5 million is just a starting point for the center. It will keep operations going till October, but Ammons knows its not enough.
"Because the losses and revenue have been devastating to this center, we've had to spend all the cash we've had," Ammons said. "We've had to borrow against our line of credit, and we've also had to get a loan from the bank just to keep operating this summer."
Right now, space camp is only operating at 20 percent capacity. Once the summer sessions are complete, 90 percent of the center's employees will have been laid off. But these funds will not cover bringing them back.
"What we are doing is sustaining our operations," Ammons said.
Ammons said space camp normally brings in more than 50 percent of the center's total revenue for the year in just a few months. With it dialed back, and 50 percent fewer museum visitors, the fight to stay open is not over.
"What we hope is as we go forward, we're looking at a lot of different programs," Ammons said. "A lot of different ways that we can, add, have added, bonus to what we're doing here besides having the museum open."
However, Ammons is grateful and hopeful, they will get through this.
"We make a difference and that's a great thing to be a part of," Ammons said.
The Save Space Camp Go-Fund-Me is still open, you can donate here.