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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Godspeed 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, 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 its, 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". "Godspeed", John Glenn...

Dale Alan Bryant
Senior Contributing Science Writer

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