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Sunday, February 19, 2012

NASA salutes John Glenn, Mercury astronauts –

NASA salutes John Glenn, Mercury astronauts

By Todd Halvorson, Florida Today

Updated 38m ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – More than 1,000 people — including 200 Project Mercury veterans — gathered at Kennedy Space Center with legendary astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter on Saturday to celebrate the golden anniversary of America's first two orbital human space expeditions.

By Rik Jesse, Florida Today

John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, answers questions from the media Friday, three days before the 50th anniversary of his historic flight.

By Rik Jesse, Florida Today

John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, answers questions from the media Friday, three days before the 50th anniversary of his historic flight.

Seventy-three-year-old Eddie Harrison lived through survival training in the jungle back in the early 1960s, catching eatable egg-carrying iguanas with Glenn and Carpenter.

Bob Sieck, 73, of Viera, Fla., was an Air Force meteorologist who forecasted weather for the rescue squad that would have been dispatched to save Glenn if he had to make an emergency splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

PHOTOS: 50th anniversary of John Glenn's flight

MORE: Complete coverage via Florida Today

Jack King, 81, of Cocoa Beach, Fla., was NASA's chief of media services, and had to keep reporters from around the world in line during a long string of delays leading up to Glenn's historic Friendship 7 flight on Feb. 20, 1962.

"It was a madhouse," King said Saturday.

Glenn's Friendship 7 mission and Carpenter's Aurora 7 flight three months later put the U.S. on equal footing with the former Soviet Union in a Cold War "Space Race" to the moon.

"You are the people that made it happen. And I'm so glad to see that so many of you are still around," Glenn said in a private reception with the Project Mercury veterans.


I grew up in the 60's and was a teenager in the 70's. And Yes, those were the times when I believed that anything was possible. In the 70's, trips to the Moon had become almost common place to hear about. I really thought that I might have a chance to ride a Shuttle into Space, one day. At least by the time I was 40. I'm 55, now and now I wonder if I will live to see that day... I wonder if we will ever have times like that again?...


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