Gilruth Tribute Celebration

Minnesota vision launched the most audacious engineering challenge in history.

Celebrate one of the most amazing stories in our State of Innovation and grow our legacy by supporting a new generation of learners.


Robert Gilruth, 1913 – 2000          

The Minnesotan who advised President Kennedy to put a man on the moon led the Apollo program and built a great space center in a pasture to do it.

Known as the “Father of America’s Human Space Flight program,” Robert Gilruth was born in Nashwauk, Minnesota on October 8, 1913. He graduated from high school in Duluth, earned Aeronautical Engineering degrees from the University of Minnesota and oversaw 25 manned spaceflights, from the suborbital Mercury-Redstone 3 flight to the Apollo 15 lunar landing mission in July 1971.

AirSpace Minnesota nominated Mr. Gilruth for induction into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame, to occur on Saturday, April 25. Mr. Cabana is coming to help pay tribute to Mr. Gilruth, the legacy of the University of Minnesota and the many Minnesotans who helped take America into spacce. 

Featured Guest: Robert Cabana, Director, Kennedy Space Center

Mr. Cabana, a Minnesota native and graduate of Minneapolis Washburn High School, was appointed to lead the Kennedy Space Center in October 2008. The Hall of Fame astronaut previously served as director of NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and deputy director of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston.

A distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School with over 7,000 hours logged in 36 different aircraft, Mr. Cabana graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has flown four space shuttle missions, serving as the pilot of Discovery on STS-41 in October 1990, the pilot of Discovery on STS-53 in December 1992, the commander of Columbia on STS-65 in July 1994, and the commander of Endeavour on STS-88, the first space station assembly mission, in December 1998.

On April 24 he will be honored with the prestigious National Space Trophy at a ceremony in Houston.