Celebrating Alabama’s role in space innovation

Celebrating Alabama’s role in space innovation
EDPA pays homage to the Moonshot, honors innovators during annual iMerge. (Dennis Washington / Alabama NewsCenter)

Fifty years ago, Alabama made it possible for mankind to make one of its greatest leaps – landing on the Moon, when innovators in the state built the Saturn V rocket. That historic accomplishment, along with some of the people involved, were celebrated during the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama‘s iMerge 2019 event at Iron City in Birmingham.

iMerge 2019: Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Innovation from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Five people were presented with a Lifetime Achievement in Innovation award:

  • Dr. Wernher von Braun.
  • Dr. Joyce Neighbors.
  • Dr. Katherine Johnson.
  • Dorothy Vaughan.
  • Mary Jackson.

Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson were a team of female African American mathematicians who served an integral role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. Their story was the subject of the 2016 biographical movie, Hidden Figures.

iMerge 2019: the Apollo 11 movie from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Robert Pearlman and Stephen Slater spoke about their roles as technical producers for the recently released documentary, Apollo 11.

The night concluded with a keynote address from U.S. Air Force Lt. General Steven Kwast, who shared a vision for space exploration in cybersecurity protection, telecommunications, manufacturing and defense.

iMerge 2019: Alabama Launchpad Cycle 3 Pitch Finale from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Alabama Launchpad also held its 2019 Cycle 3 Pitch Finale. Conserv won $50,000 in the Early Seed startups category and Immediate won $100,000 in the Concept Stage startups category.

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