Sunday, November 21, 2010

Astronaut Memorial's CEO Makes $300,000 a Year


The Space Mirror astronaut memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex hasn't worked in thirteen years. Photo source: Astronaut Memorial Foundation web site.

Today's Florida Today reports that the CEO of the Astronaut Memorial Foundation earns $303,000 a year in salary and benefits, about one-fifth of the non-profit's annual budget.

Each year, thousands of car owners pay an extra $25 for a special Challenger/Columbia shuttle memorial license plate, in honor of American astronauts who gave their lives in pursuit of space exploration.

Half the money goes to a local nonprofit foundation created to keep up the towering granite memorial at Kennedy Space Center bearing the names of fallen heroes. The other half goes to a different group, the Technological Research and Development Authority, which spurs technology development in business and education. Last year, each organization got about $377,000 from the plates.

However, only a small fraction of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation's income is spent maintaining the Space Mirror, which hasn't worked as designed since the mechanism that rotates it to track the sun broke 13 years ago and the foundation deemed it too expensive to fix.

In fact, the money the foundation spends to keep up the memorial is about half what it pays its chief executive officer, Stephen Feldman, whose salary and benefits accounted for almost $1 out of every $5 of the charity's annual budget each of the past three years.


Click here to visit the Astronauts Memorial Foundation web site. There is contact information on the home page should you be inclined to express an opinion.

And here's the web site for the Technological Research and Development Authority that receives the other half of the license plate revenue.

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