SPACE CAMP® was founded in 1982 as the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® museum’s education program to promote the study of math, science, and technology. This educational program couples classroom instruction with hands-on activities and teaches teamwork, decision-making, and leadership. Rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun, while leading the team of scientists and engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center that sent astronauts to the moon, inspired these programs that have challenged and educated youngsters from all 50 states and over 40 countries and territories. SPACE CAMP has become known as one of the premier math/science/technology educational programs in the United States.
Camps are available for fourth grade through high school-age students. Additional programs are available for trainees who are blind or visually impaired, and for the deaf or hard of hearing. "Space Is Special" is a program for special education students.
SPACE CAMP programs are also available for adults, and special camps have been designed for educators and for corporate groups. Additional Space Camp Family Programs are available for children as young as 7 years.
More than 600,000 students and adults have attended SPACE CAMP since the program began in June, 1982.
Data from student surveys document the benefits of SPACE CAMP. The USSRC surveyed 9,950 alumni who attended camp between 1987 and 1992, allowing a lapse in time from camp attendance until initiation of the survey to measure whether attending camp had a lasting effect on students. The return rate was approximately 12%, and the results are dramatic: 93% of the alumni said they took more science courses, particularly physics and chemistry, in the years following camp; 91% reported taking more math; and 74% said they learned about careers.
More recent data is available from a SPACE CAMP program for Title I students funded in 2002 by the Marshall Space Flight Center. Nine Title I schools from North Alabama participated. The program, called NASA Stars, trained 18 teachers and 382 students. Assessments reveal that students showed a 21% gain in knowledge and understanding of the scientific process and a 47% gain in the knowledge and understanding of the importance and significance of past, present, and future space exploration.