Shine a Light

How many people know the Father of America’s Human Space Flight program went to high school in Duluth and graduated from the University of Minnesota? And that he advised President Kennedy to launch what’s considered the most audacious engineering challenge in history?

  From Left: University of Minnesota alum Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., Alan B.Shepard, Jr., Center Director Robert R. Gilruth (U of M alum), M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra, Jr. & Virgil "Gus" Grissom.

The 2015 induction of Robert Gilruth (1913 – 2000) into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame illuminates a critical need to chronicle and commemorate this region’s remarkable legacy. Values supporting education, hard work and ingenuity have fostered great technology innovation and leadership. Many of these contributions can be connected to dreams of exploration, inspired by a desire to travel faster, higher, farther and more safely than ever before.

Revered as a giant among those who know NASA’s story, it’s time to shine a light not just on the unsung Gilruth contributions, but on all the people and organizations from this region who literally helped take America into space. From edible space sticks to moon boots and spacesuits, guidance systems and rocket boosters, the achievements span a remarkable continuum.

Please support this effort to celebrate our innovation legacy by sharing a brief summary of a contribution, which will inspire a new generation to dream big, work hard and be confident in pursuing science, engineering, technology and mathematics skills and careers. Submit your story or the story of someone you know here.

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