Ads for Space: A Crowdfunded Campaign for NASA

By Dan Hendrickson, Aerospace Engineering ‘09

When the Space Shuttle landed for the last time, I noticed an alarming trend in public perception about the U.S. human spaceflight program.  Despite the fact that U.S. astronauts were living and working on the International Space Station for the 12th straight year, the public seemed to believe our space program was closed for good.  I was particularly concerned what effect this misconception would have on students and young people.

With this in mind, I conceptualized and led a crowdfunding campaign to show the public that U.S. human spaceflight is alive and well. Although NASA recently made an inspiring video highlighting its new era of space exploration, its reach is limited because the agency is barred from buying advertising.  Our campaign is raising money from the general public to edit this video into a 30-second advertisement, and place it in movie theaters during the “Star Trek Into Darkness” premiere in May.  If we reach our goal of $94,000, we will place the ad in at least one movie theater in every state in America.

The public reaction to the campaign thus far has been overwhelming; we’re almost half way to our goal and we still have over 25 days left in the fundraiser.  Nearly 1,500 donors from across the country have already stood up to declare their support for our space program.

As a 2009 aerospace engineering alumnus of Florida Tech, it’s been heartening to see the widespread passion held for exploration.  Frequently, Florida Tech students come to campus inspired to make a contribution to science and exploration, and in many cases it’s because an exciting space program inspired them at a very young age.  Space is an irreplaceable intellectual stimulus.  I’m hopeful that this crowdfunding campaign will go a long way to show future Florida Tech students that an exciting space program awaits – one that is worthy of their ambition.

To contribute to the campaign, visit


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