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.
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.
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.