Before he died, President John F. Kennedy visited Merritt Island in 1963 to check on the progress of NASA’s new launch area, where less than six years later, America would send its first men to the moon.
Now, to celebrate the historic achievement that took place more than 50 years ago, Florida Tech, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Universities Space Research Association are collaborating to host a symposium next week that highlights the past accomplishments of America’s space program and where it’s headed.
“We are education drivers for supporting the space industry,” Gisele Bennett, senior vice president for strategic and research initiatives at Florida Tech said. “(Florida Tech’s recent joining with the USRA) gave us the opportunity to be the lead host with USRA and the JFK library to celebrate the Apollo 11 mission, but more importantly, it’s looking out into the future and the opportunity to access people that were involved in the mission.”
The free event titled, “JFK’S Moonshot Mandate: Then, Now and Destiny” will be held Nov. 6 at the Gleason Performing Arts Center at the university and doors will open to the public at 7:30 a.m. with opening remarks beginning at 8:30 a.m.
There will be three separate panel discussions followed by a free screening of FLORIDA TODAY’s documentary, “People of Apollo.” The event is scheduled to conclude at 2:30 p.m.
Roughly 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin joined him on the lunar surface.
Some of the panelists include:
• Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden
• Space shuttle astronaut Winston Scott
• Andrew Aldrin, director of the Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech
• Scott Henderson, Blue Origin’s vice president for test and flight operations
• Alyssa Carson, an 18-year-old astrobiology student at Florida Tech who hopes to be one of the first astronauts on Mars one day.
Those interested in attending can RSVP online at www.floridatech.edu/apollo50th, where additional details about the event will be provided.
“For us, there is not just interest in commemorating the historic events of 50 years ago, but an opportunity for us to help to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers,” president and CEO of USRA Jeffrey Isaacson said. “I think the goal of the symposium was to really get people to think about what is possible when science and public service are brought together for a variety of endeavors that benefit humankind.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong made history July 20, 1969, as the first man to walk on the moon: “One giant step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”
Timothy Walters, FLORIDA TODAY
Read or Share this story: https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2019/10/30/florida-tech-host-event-celebrating-apollo-11-anniversary-and-us-space-program/2488362001/