In 2013, the Chesapeake Planetarium will celebrate its 50th year of operation. Construction funds for the planetarium were provided by the Chesapeake School Board as a result of the National Defense Education Act (NDEA). It was the first planetarium constructed in Virginia by a public school system. It was designed as a teaching aid for the school system, but has been made available to the general public as well. More than 50,000 students and adults visit the planetarium each year to view educational programs.