Space camp blast rockets virtually due to virus |

Space camp blast rockets virtually due to virus

Created: December 21, 2020 02:42 PM

Kennedy Space Center's popular space camp is offering children across the United States a chance to attend virtual lessons from home.

The educational program at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has been attended by nearly 1 million people, including a dozen who went on to become astronauts or cosmonauts.

It was in danger of closing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Space Camp would normally suit up to 2,000 children for an educational experience like no other for its summer camp program. But this year, the camp at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is going online for the first-time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new 3-day virtual winter camp will cost campers $65, each session lasting three hours.

The next one is Dec. 29-31 at 1 p.m. ET (18:00 GMT) and they say they're expecting hundreds to attend, creating precious revenue.

Dee Maynard, the Education Programs Manager at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, explains the camp started 20 year ago.

"For about almost 20 years now, we've been running the onsite camps every summer and we usually see between 1,800 and 2,000 kids over the course of the summer. And of course, this year we couldn't do it. And we have a lot of kids who come every year. They were really looking forward to it and we wanted to give them something. So, someone in the someone in my team, I don't even remember who now said, 'What about trying it virtually?" Maynard said.

She explains they decided to run one camp for a variety of age levels, in the hope parents could assist young children if they were having trouble.

The virtual space camp will launch its new winter session later this month, focusing on hand-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities.

Campers will use chemistry, physics, and artistic creativity to build different models of the solar system, planets, moons, and galaxies.

Using common household materials, campers will learn, build and launch a tube rocket, a chemical rocket with a parachute, a foam glider, a lunar lander, and a device that demonstrates the principles of Keplerian orbits.

Campers will also perform experiments and engineering design challenges to gain a better understanding of the challenges of living in microgravity and on another planet.

The Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex reopened at limited capacity in May, after 2 and half months of closure due to the pandemic.

Space Camp was in danger of closing because of lack of funds due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the state-owned U.S. Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Space Camp was shut down for weeks earlier this year and has been hampered by low attendance since reopening in June with limited capacity, according to officials.

With most of its typical staff slashed and the normal flow of international students and school groups down to nothing for the fall (autumn) because of the virus, leaders held a news conference in July announcing a "Save Space Camp" drive.

Officials hope to raise at least $1.5 million in donations they said were needed to keep the museum open through October, the end of the fiscal year, and to reopen Space Camp in April.

Donors gave nearly $100,000 within a couple hours of the announcement.

Since opening in 1982, Space Camp has had almost 1 million youth and adult attendees, and it was the inspiration for a 1986 movie of the same name.

Ten people selected as astronauts and two who went on to become cosmonauts attended the camp, promoters say.

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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