National Aerospace Cadets Collection

Ken Beatty founded the National Aerospace Cadets in 1980 as a nonprofit organization that aimed to teach children skills for living in the space age, such as astronomy, computer science, electronics, model rocketry, and celestial navigation. Both youth members and adult leaders earned "ranks" as they acquired skills and passed tests. Mr. Beatty also ran the Delmarva Space Training Center from the basement of his home which served as an educational center for the cadets. The Delmarva Space Training Center contained a book and video library, a Space Shuttle simulator that was constructed by cadets, many models, and hands-on activities and kits. Mr. Beatty planned to find a large, permanent facility to house the Delmarva Space Training Center, but this was never realized due to a lack of funding. The National Aerospace Cadets maintained a membership of about 250 young people during its lifetime and had chapters in other states. Ken Beatty and the National Aerospace Cadets represents a portion of the public reaction to the Space Shuttle program and one version of how the advances of the Shuttle program would affect the future. The organization is also interesting because it represents a grassroots effort that works from the bottom-up, as opposed to a topdown structured organization such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.