Polaris Dawn Crew Visits Space Camp

The crew of the upcoming SpaceX mission Polaris Dawn was in Huntsville today to speak to Space Campers!

The crew toured Space Camp before addressing campers in the brand-new Space Camp Operations Center. The team discussed their upcoming mission, including mission objectives. Space Camp / Aviation Challenge alumni Julia Lantos was on hand to moderate questions asked by some Space Campers attending this week.

The mission is scheduled for no sooner than Q4 2023, with a possibility that the mission might slip into 2024.

Update: Coverage from WAAY-31
Update: WHNT has their report from the 5pm news on their YouTube channel here.

Space Camp Hall of Fame 2023 Inductees Announced

Konrad Dannenberg, Apollo Program Engineer
Tim Bailey, Flight Instructor with Zero-G
NASA Astronaut Bob Hines
Justin Picchi of the U.S. Space Force

These four men will be inducted at the Space Camp Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony on July 14, 2023.

You can get your tickets by going to https://www.rocketcenter.com/SpaceCampReunion. Tickets to the dinner are $100, but $250 will get you the “All Access Pass” into the entire weekend’s slate of events, including time on Space Camp simulators! Any donations of $150 or more, including All Access Pass purchases, will receive a patch from the Space Camp Alumni Association, available only for this event!

Lifetime USSRC Membership No Longer Sold

This is technically old news, but I just noticed it recently and thought it was worth a mention.

The “Lifetime Membership” option for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center has been on hiatus for a little over a year.

The lifetime membership had been offered for $1,000 and first became available in early 2014.

Curiously, “Lifetime Membership” is still an option on the Space & Rocket Center Online Shop, but clicking on it doesn’t take you anywhere other than the store’s home page.

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Former USSRC CEO Larry Caps: 1940 to 2023

Larry Caps with his Medaris Award

Brigadier General (retired) Larry Capps, who served as the CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center from 2000 until his somewhat tumultuous retirement in 2011, passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 82.

Gen. Capps assumed leadership of the beleaguered Rocket Center after the previous CEO, Mike Wing, left the institution with its balance sheet in disarray and deep in debt.

Soon after taking the reins, Gen. Capps faced another setback as the September 11 attacks significantly diminished parents’ willingness to put their children on airplanes to attend Space Camp.

Despite these challenges, the Space & Rocket Center continued to progress under Gen. Capps’ stewardship, successfully managing its debt and relocating the Saturn V to the newly-built Davidson Center.

Visitation will be Friday, May 12 from 1 to 2 PM with a memorial service from 2 to 3 pm at Laughlin Srervice Funeral Home in Huntsville, AL. He is to be laid to rest at the Lawnwood Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Covinton, GA.

We here offer our deepest condolences to his wife Brenda and the rest of his family.

NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is Back!

Previously known as The Great Moonbuggy Race, the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is back after a global-pandemic-sized hiatus of four years! This will be the first rover competition since 2019.

The competition starts tomorrow, Friday, April 21, 2023, and runs through Sunday. It is open to the public, so you’re welcome to go down and see teams compete!

The event is usually streamed online as well. Keeping an eye on the NASA Rover Challenge twitter feed would probably be the best bet to find out how to watch online.

The biggest change this year is the venue. The obstacle course has moved down to Aviation Challenge!

Human Exploration Rover Challenge Course Map

Best of luck to the more than 500 students from around the country and the world who will compete in this event!

May the best rover win!

A Space Camper is Going to the Moon!

NASA held their big Artemis II crew announcement today! You can watch the entire video here, but the highlight is that Space Camp alumna and Space Camp Hall of Fame inductee Christina Koch was one of the four selected to go to the Moon on Artemis II!

The flight is currently slated for no earlier than November 2024!

Christina Koch was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame in 2019, and you can learn more about her in her Hall of Fame introduction.

Christina is a five-time alumna of Space Camp, and soon she’s going to be going around the Moon!

Congratulations to Christina! She’s everything Space Camp founder Ed Buckbee had ever hoped for when Space Camp really got going. That an alum of his creation will soon be traveling as far away as any human has ever gone is really something special.

“First Space Camp is Termed a Success”

So reads the headline from the Summer 1982 Alabama Space & Rocket Center Newsletter!

This newsletter also features a copy of the New York Times article and a number of great photos from Camp!

Ahead of the 40th anniversary of Space Camp, I was digging around the USPTO website and found this document in a very old trademark filing! It had a number of scuffs and USPTO acceptance stamps on it, so I’ve cleaned it up to present here! Enjoy!

2022 Space Camp Hall of Fame Available

The entirety of this year’s Space Camp Hall of Fame Ceremony is now up on YouTube! It really was one of the best events put on by the Space Center in quite some time (and that’s really saying something)!

The staff did a tremendous job, as always! If you watch this year’s and think to yourself, “Oh, I wish I had been there,” I would encourage you to attend future events! It’s worth traveling for, especially if you haven’t been back to Camp in quite some time!

There are also the indivdiual speeches, the Inspiration4 chat, and more in separate videos as listed in the 2022 Space Camp Hall of Fame Playlist.