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Bringing the Universe into the Classroom!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

God's Speed John Glenn

Someone, once exclaimed, "God's Speed, John Glenn!". It was Glenn's fellow astronaut, Scott Carpenter, as the mission controller for the Mercury-Atlas-6 mission, Glenn was flying. I'll second that quote.

I've always felt, a rather close association with Colonel Glenn. Why? --- I got to sit in the pilot's seat - the very seat that he flew his Mercury spacecraft "Friendship-7", into orbit from, three times around the Earth, in 1962 - the first American to do it.

John Glenn, 1921-2016
John Glenn, 1921-2016

My opportunity, to feel as Glenn did (to a very small degree, albeit), came two years later at what is now, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, in Washington, DC. I was 8 years old.

Not realizing, at first (due to it's, surprisingly, small size), that, it was the actual space vehicle that Glenn took into orbit, two years previously -- I climbed up a small set of steps, and looked inside, through the already open hatch. It was, indeed, that very same vehicle. The cockpit was so small, I wasn't sure there was even a seat to sit in! It took a second for my brain to locate and recognize, what was there, as a seat! Then, I took it...and in my mind - I never really left it...

In Nov of 2012, I found myself, once again, standing beside the "Friendship-7", at the National Air & Space Museum, during a trip to the House of Representatives. This time, the historic spacecraft was -entirely- encased, in an inch-thick shield of Lucite®! - and, entirely, untouchable.

I've always wanted to meet the man: the spacecraft pilot; the astronaut - now, "untouchable", as well, that once lent me his seat, in "Friendship -7". "God's Speed", John Glenn...

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