HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Inspiration4 Commander and Shift4 Founder and CEO Jared Isaacman announced a $10 million donation to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to build a new Space Camp facility.
The multimillion-dollar gift will help build a 40,000-square foot, hanger-style building.
“Space Camp may be located in Huntsville, Alabama, but it’s an asset for the entire nation,” Isaacman said. “There are things here you will not find at school, you will not find at your local museum, your computer, your iPad, or your virtual reality headset will never be able to provide.”
The building is planned to bring several of Space Camp and Aviation Challenges’ immersive activities under one roof. The plans include space and aviation simulators, an indoor pool, a netted drone space, classrooms and a challenge course for future trainees.
The announcement was made on Space Camp’s current mission training floor during their 40th-anniversary celebration. While the U.S. Space and Rocket Center opened its doors in 1970, Space Camp was founded in 1982.
The Rocket Center is in the final stages of selecting a site for the new building and an architectural firm for the design. There was no set timetable for the construction process in the announcement.
Isaacman will also be donating an L-39 Black Diamond plane to be displayed at the new facility when it is finished.
The Inspiration4 mission was the first all-civilian crew to go to space. They raised almost $250 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during a fundraiser before their flight on September 15, 2021, aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule. The four-person crew made a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center before their flight to meet with campers and talk about their mission.
Isaacman said the Inspiration4 mission was a big step forward for space travel, and he encourages others to support the future of U.S. space exploration.
“We always said if we got this right, it would open the door for so many exciting missions to follow, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen,” Isaacman said. “What you’re seeing at Space Camp is a lot of young minds that will some day go on those missions.”
Isaacman went to Aviation Challenge when he was 12 years old and his fellow crewman Chris Sembroski previously worked as a Space Camp counselor.