The Smithsonian Institution has surpassed its initial goal to raise $500,000 through crowdfunding to restore Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, within a week of the campaign’s launch. The campaign, launched on Kickstarter, had garnered $543, 898 as of Monday.
The Smithsonian, which receives federal funding to conduct basic operations and maintain artifacts, decided to launch the fundraising campaign to help conserve the spacesuit worn by Armstrong when he first stepped on the moon in 1969. The spacesuit is currently kept in a climate-controlled storage room in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the public cannot view it, according to the Kickstarter website.
However, the fresh funds will help build a climate-controlled display for the suit so that it can be viewed by the public. The Smithsonian also intends to complete a 3D digitization of the spacesuit so that it can be displayed on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 2019. Following this, the outfit will remain on display in a permanent exhibit from 2020.
The fundraising campaign, which has 6,898 backers, will run for another 22 days. The organization has now extended the goal to $700,000 and plans to also restore Alan Shepard’s Mercury spacesuit with the extra cash. Shepard was on the first manned American space flight in 1961.
The Smithsonian also stated that space fans donating to the campaign can expect some rewards -- such as a flag flown in space and membership to the National Air and Space Society -- based on the amount donated.