American Aerospace Heroes Converge on Dayton for Apollo Anniversary

National Aviation Hall of Fame honors Apollo space missions crews prior to Apollo 11 anniversary

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The first men to walk on the moon will reunite today with 10 crew members from other Apollo manned spaceflight missions at the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, the birthplace of flight and a national leader in the aerospace industry, according to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. The convergence of Apollo astronauts in Dayton is the first time they will reunite leading up to Monday's recognition of the Apollo 11 moon landing 40th anniversary.

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The National Aviation Hall of Fame is recognizing all Apollo crew members today, including Apollo 11 moonwalkers Ohio native Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin, with the 2009 Milton Caniff "Spirit of Flight" Award. "This year brings special significance to our annual awards ceremony weekend," said Ron Kaplan, executive director of the National Aviation Hall of Fame. "America's moon landing of 40 years ago still stands as a top triumph of human achievement that would not have been possible without the brave and talented crew members of the Apollo manned spaceflight missions.

"As home to 24 astronauts and two internationally recognized flight innovation centers, Ohio has always been at the forefront of aerospace development," Kaplan said. "So it is fitting that the Apollo crews will first meet in Dayton to kick off Apollo 11 anniversary celebrations."

Following today's Spirit of Flight Award presentation, the National Aviation Hall of Fame Saturday hosts "America's Oscar Night of Aviation," its annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony which this year inducts: Eileen Collins, U.S. Air Force test pilot and first female Shuttle commander; Russell Meyer, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company; the late film star Jimmy Stewart, a WWII bomber pilot and airpower advocate; and the late Edward H. White II, Gemini and Apollo missions astronaut who lost his life in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire in 1967.

Armstrong, golf legend Arnold Palmer, comedian Rich Little, and Shuttle-Mir crew leader Col. Charles J. Precourt, USAF (Ret.) will present the Saturday enshrinement inductions and well-known journalist and television personality Nick Clooney will emcee the event.

The birthplace of flight, Ohio is the nation's leader in advanced propulsion and derivative power technology, providing a world-class research environment that includes two dedicated federal aerospace laboratories - Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton and NASA Glenn in Cleveland - and ten aerospace related doctoral programs at Ohio universities. Graduates of these institutions provide a cluster of highly skilled and educated workers. Ohio's aerospace industry is supported by the state's Ohio Third Frontier, a $1.6 billion initiative to help catalyze connections between companies and academia.

"Ohio is home to some of the best and brightest talent in the aerospace industry, and continues to provide the necessary tools to allow both businesses and individuals the opportunity to pursue both their professional and personal aspirations," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition. "Ohio truly is the state of Perfect Balance."

About the National Aviation Hall of Fame

The NAHF is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in Dayton in 1962 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Its mission is to honor America's outstanding air and space pioneers, which it does through a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center featuring interactive exhibits, a youth education program, its annual enshrinement ceremony, and other public outreach programs. For more information, visit www.nationalaviation.org.

About the Ohio Business Development Coalition

The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio's economic development efforts. For more information, visit www.ohiomeansbusiness.com.

SOURCE Ohio Business Development Coalition

Web site: http://www.ohiomeansbusiness.com/




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