The Cosmic Odyssey Scholarship

The Cosmic Odyssey Scholarship sends families affected by pediatric cancer on an incredible trip to Family Space Camp in Huntsville, AL

Cosmic Odyssey Scholarship logo

Travel, tuition, lodging, food, certificate, Space Camp wings, and awesome space swag are all included in this amazing experience. 

Your donations help make this scholarship possible.

We are currently accepting applications for our 2022 cohort of participants!

Cancer patients, survivors, and families can now apply for a chance to join our TWO camps this summer.

Camp Dates

Space Camp: June 10-12, 2022

Aviation Challenge: June 17-19, 2022

Important Application Dates

Early bird applications close: March 13, 2022

Early bird applicants notified: by March 25, 2022

All applications close: April 17, 2022

All applicants notified of acceptance: by April 29, 2022

Logo for Space Camp - astronaut figure on a red, white, and blue background

Our first seven families completed their Family Space Camp experiences in Summer 2021

Congratulations to these first two cohorts of Cosmic Odyssey Scholarship recipients! They enjoyed special activities for their custom Family Space Camp weekends.

Thanks to ALL of our applicants for this first year of the scholarship and the donors making this all possible. Click here for a news story from WAAY 31 in Huntsville featuring some of our August families.

Special thanks to the Huntsville Marriott at the Space & Rocket Center  and Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for their support of the scholarship families.

Why Space Camp? Why pediatric cancer families?

Niko’s story

Nikolas Blanks’ love of space began at age 4 with a viewing of the iconic space movie Apollo 13 with his grandfather. He later developed an inoperable brain tumor which required treatment to stabilize and contain. With the support of the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, Niko successfully completed his cancer treatment. Afterwards, Niko wondered if he would be able to realize his dream of spaceflight–did he still have ‘the right stuff’ after battling cancer? 

To find out, Niko attended Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. The experience renewed his confidence and passion for aerospace. He returned to camp three more times, including a week of Elite Space Academy where a new Mars mission simulation was first used. That session was filmed for the 2017 documentary The Mars Generation (available on Netflix).

Following his experience at Space Camp, Niko enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, where he is currently studying Spaceflight Operations. He also works as a Research Assistant in the ERAU Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology Laboratory (S.U.I.T. Lab). In 2020,  he served as Chief Engineer on the Sensoria M3 lunar simulation mission at the HI-SEAS habitat in Hawaii. This June, he is starting as a Test Engineer at Blue Origin.

During an eight-week SpaceKind training course with Yuri’s Night co-founder Loretta Whitesides in 2020, Niko expressed his desire to ‘pay it forward’ and create the opportunity for someone else impacted by pediatric cancer to have the same life-changing experience he did by attending Space Camp. Yuri’s Night and the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer worked together to make that happen in 2021 and to expand the scholarship in 2022.

Niko in a space station simulator at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex during Yuri's Night 2019.

Going [to Space Camp] motivated me to be the best person that I could be and use my passion for space in the best way that I could. I think for a lot of people it has had the same effect on them. Whether they end up going into the space industry or not, or become astronauts, people that attend space camp are changed forever.

Niko Blanks

With your help, we are sending families to a special weekend session of Family Space Camp in 2022.

Austin Hatcher Foundation
The Cosmic Odyssey Scholarship is a creation of Niko Blanks with
support from Yuri’s Night and the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.