AstroTrek Returns?

Springtime has marked the end of winter, renewal, rebirth.

AstroTrek Group Programs Logo

For many years, spring has also signed the arrival of local fifth-graders to a Space Camp day camp. From Monday through Thursday, parents drop kids off in the mornings; they go through normal Camp activities–simulators, history lessons, mission training, etc.–and go home in the afternoon. On Friday, they graduate.

The price provided to the schools has for quite some time been $250. That’s certainly a bargain for kids, especially considering that Space Camp’s tuition price has been over $1,000 inflation-adjusted dollars since the earliest days of Space Camp. As the program omits any evening activities, some things undoubtedly get cut, but the fifth grade program has generally been considered a ‘full’ Space Camp program.

This year sees changes to this longstanding program for local kids. The simulated space mission: gone. The price: double. $500. And apparently, there is no place to hold a graduation ceremony, so there won’t be one.

Space Camp’s busy season is obviously the summer, but the fifth-grade program allows Space Camp to train new counselors ahead of summer and generate revenue while their core clientele around the country are still in school. This program has generated quite a lot in revenue over the years, reaching well into the six figures at each participating school. In return, kids all over the Huntsville area get to experience Space Camp, especially those who might not otherwise be able to afford to do so.

Whereas $250 was a steal, $500 is still a good deal, even if a doubling in price might be hard to swallow. Schools that need to fundraise to afford the program are going to have a real problem here. But without the mission…and no graduation?

Is it really Space Camp? Is it really worth the trouble?

Back in the early 2000s, Space Camp had 3 and 4-day programs where groups of kids could come in large groups and experience some Space Camp simulators and learn about space history.

It was called AstroTrek. And it was the clear position of management at the time that AstroTrek attendees were not Space Camp alumni.

What of these kids?

The changes appear to have come suddenly, as I’m told these changes were so sudden that Hampton Cove Elementary was reportedly not even notified of them until they showed up for camp! Oops!

The Adventures of Mark and Brian

Back in the 80s, there was a pair of popular disc jockeys out of Los Angeles, Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps, who had their own popular, syndicated radio show.

In the early 1990s, they were given their own TV show. It was not successful, lasting only one thirteen-episode season.

But one of those episodes was, in part, shot at Space Camp!

I was lucky enough to find a copy of this episode over at The Internet Archive, and I’ve brought it over to YouTube to make it more easily accessible for fans of Space Camp.

Interestingly, there were a few scenes where they stated they were at U.S. Space Camp, but there were a few other scenes from Space Camp where they made it seem like they were at NASA!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Space Camp

The 2022 Huntsville Comic & Pop Culture Expo is a mere month away, and just today they made the following, remarkably cool post:

That’s right! Turtles at Space Camp!

It’s a really nifty piece of art!

While TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman will be at the Expo signing autographs, you don’t have to be present to get this cover!

They’re available for purchase from the Expo Merch Site in plain, autographed, or graded and autographed versions, and can be shipped to your door!

TMNT at Space Camp with Saturn V in Background

HabFiles Update – The First Brochure

A relatively new addition to the Hab1 collection, this brochure is from 1969 and touts the soon-to-open Alabama Space & Rocket Center.

“OPENING FALL 1969,” it reads on the last page of the brochure! That date would prove to be inaccurate. The Space Center would not open until March 17, 1970. That makes this brochure extra interesting in my opinion!

ASRC Opening Soon Brochure Cover

Former Space Camp Florida Counselor Named SpaceX Astronaut

SpaceX just released the names of the crew for their Inspriation4 mission which they are calling “the world’s first all-civilian mission.”

Amongst the four members is former Space Camp Florida counselor Chris Sembroski!

Chris is a former Air Force missileer and current employee of Lockheed Martin.

He will be joined by three other civilians later this year for their flight!

Congratulations, Chris! It’s always wonderful to see Space Camp alumni make good!

Space Camp Explorers Club Launching

For the past few days, Space Camp and the Space Camp Alumni have been teasing a “new way to be a part of Space Camp Alumni!”

Though the announcement was supposed to come today, severe weather (and an early closing time today of the Space & Rocket Center) has put off the announcement until tomorrow.

But I think I’ve found it!

Behold, The Space Camp Explorers Club!

At a glance, it appears that Space Camp is setting up Patreon-like system where, for a fixed amount of money, you can get access to various things only available (or premium versions of things publicly available) to Explorers Club members.

There are three tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold for $10/month, $25/month, and $50/month, respectively.

Explorers Club Tiers

If successful, this could provide a new, steady stream of income to Space Camp! Best of luck to them! I hope it is a smashing success!

Space & Rocket Center Launches New Podcast

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center / Space Camp have a new podcast!

podcast logo

Three episodes have been released thus far.

Episode 1 is a talk with Homer Hickam, famed Rocket Boys / October Sky author.

Episode 2 is with retired NASA engineer Kenny Mitchell

Episode 3 is with Virgin Galactic Founder Astronaut Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides.

Next week they’ll be speaking to famed Star Trek graphic designers and authors Michael and Denise Okuda!

Get subscribed!

(Sorta) Space Camp Snoopy Shirt on Woot! Today has a shirt today feature Snoopy on top of his doghouse in a Space Shuttle that says “Space Camp 1982” in a NASA worm-logo font.

Is it authorized? Certainly not! Is it neat? Absolutely!

This is not the first time shirt.woot has a shirt referencing Space Camp! Back in May of 2016 they had one as well.