Wednesday, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) presented Dr. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. with the 2019 Thomas R. Hobson Distinguished Aerospace Service Award for a lifetime of exemplary achievement in the aerospace field.
The award presentation came during the Aerospace States Association’s annual dinner, which was held in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Ainsworth is currently chair of the association, which is a national nonpartisan group composed of lieutenant governors, gubernatorial-appointed delegates and associate members from aerospace organizations and academia.
In remarks shared with Yellowhammer News, Ainsworth honored Alabama’s space legacy, recognizing Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary this week.
“Throughout each of the past six decades, Alabama and the Marshall Space Flight Center have created the engines that rocketed man into the heavens,” he said. “It’s here that Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his committed team of scientists and engineers birthed the Saturn V rocket that took men to the Moon and allowed them to place a U.S. flag on the lunar surface.”
“For those reasons, it’s altogether appropriate that we gather in this state and this city for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission,” he continued. “We are fortunate to have Buzz Aldrin, an original moonwalker and living American legend, join us during this conference.”
As chair of the Aerospace States Association, it’s my honor to host the annual meeting in Huntsville and present the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Buzz Aldrin. Honoring him during the 50th anniversary of the legendary Apollo 11 mission made the moment even more special. pic.twitter.com/PFN2rQsfMU
— Will Ainsworth (@willainsworthAL) July 18, 2019
The conference is set to last through the rest of the week, with attendees working on publicly policy related to the aerospace industry and advocating for their home states.
“The work we do here this week will bring the stars and planets closer to the earth and ensure that future generations are privy to the same dreams and inspirations that the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, and Space Station eras provid-ed to generations prior,” Ainsworth told the crowd.
“I was just talking with some industry leaders who are here and they are talking about expanding the existing industry,” he the lieutenant governor said. “I think a lot of new industries are looking here. And the reason why is we are the aerospace capital of the world. I think when you look at our tax environment, with the workforce we are training, Alabama is open for business in aerospace, no doubt.”
“Today I had an opportunity to tour ULA where they are building rockets that will literally send our next astronauts to the Moon, and when you look at just the president’s commitment to going back to the Moon, and when you look at potentially the future of going to Mars, it’s an exciting and energetic time in the aerospace industry right now,” Ainsworth advised.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn.