Today the world focuses again on the accomplishment of John Glenn and NASA in celebrating the fact that exactly 50 years ago, the world stopped while Glenn orbited the world three times as the first United States astronaut to do so. I vividly remember sitting in my classroom as we were riveted with the journey and holding our breath collectively with the danger of re-entry with a suspected problem with the heat shield.
That makes it ever more special to me that NASA is here to help celebrate with the public today the 50th anniversary of Senator Glenn’s flight. NASA Glenn brought a series of special activities to COSI along with helping provide Astronaut Colonel Gregory Johnson and NASA history book author Ed Buckbee to share insights as only they can on our rich history of manned space flights.What I bet no one knew is how far back John Glenn’s history and support of COSI go. I’ve included the photo from our archives of Senator Glenn giving our COSI founder, Sandy Hallock, financial support for COSI just after our opening in 1964. Senator Glenn has affirmed with me that this was because he felt that “COSI was an essential resource to help inspire youth in science and technology.”
To Senator Glenn’s credit he and his wonderful wife Annie have been continuously supportive and engaged with COSI since those first days. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know them and they think COSI is as important, if not more so, today as we were in our fledgling beginning.
So we’re sorry he can’t be here interacting with the public (I could have seen us positioning him next to our full scale replica of his Friendship 7 capsule or speaking in our John Glenn theater), but we’re glad NASA has helped us celebrate with the public in his honor.
And in the usual small world we live in, Colonel Gregory Johnson who is here to engage with our public, piloted the Endeavor in 2011. The Endeavor last year was the last shuttle to take flight—carrying my former student Colonel Mike Fincke back into space. My how life and events weave together!