Hundreds of NASA workers jammed a space center auditorium to mark the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's historic flight, to see and hear the first American to circle the Earth.
Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Hundreds of NASA workers jammed a space center auditorium, three days before the 50th anniversary of Glenn's historic flight, to see and hear the first American to circle the Earth. Then journalists got a crack at Glenn, ever patient at describing his momentous flight aboard Friendship 7 and the decades since.
The 90-year-old Glenn was joined at both events by Scott Carpenter, 86, the only other survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, as the weekend of anniversary festivities began.
Glenn said he recollects the flight so often it seems like it took place just a couple weeks ago. He and Carpenter visited their old launch pad, Complex 14; it was from the blockhouse there that Carpenter called out "Godspeed John Glenn" before the rocket ignited.
The national attention then was "almost unbelievable," Glenn said, adding that he and his colleagues learned to live with the acclaim "or tried to anyway."
The early 1960s were a magical time in Cape Canaveral and adjoining Cocoa Beach, Carpenter said. "Everyone was behind us. The whole nation was behind what we were doing," he said.
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