Kennedy Director Statement on Passing of John Glenn

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  December 08, 2016 
Kennedy Director Statement on Passing of John Glenn

John Glenn and Bob Cabana in Discovery
John Glenn and NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana sit in the flight deck of space shuttle Discovery in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 OPF-1. Glenn is at the space center to mark the 50th anniversary of being the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth inside the NASA Mercury Project's Friendship 7 capsule on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn later returned to space in October 1998 as a payload specialist aboard Discovery's STS-95 mission. Glenn's launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton, a member of NASA's original Mercury 7 astronauts, was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. Shuttle Discovery currently is being prepared for display at Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.
Credits: NASA/Cory Huston

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana issued the following statement:

“I had just turned 13 when I watched John Glenn become the first American to orbit the earth back in February of 1962.  John epitomized what it was to be a Marine, a pilot, and an astronaut, and he was one of my heroes.  After I was fortunate enough to become an astronaut myself, our paths crossed many times.  I so much enjoyed, and now treasure, the time I was able to spend with him discussing the early days of our space program, and the space program's importance to our country and our future.  More than a senator, or an astronaut, John defined himself as a Marine and a pilot.  He was very proud that he was able to pass his medical even when he turned 90, and he loved to talk about flying.  He was definitely in his element when he returned to the astronaut office in 1998, at the age 77, to train and fly on STS-95 aboard Discovery.  He had always wanted to fly in space again.  He was the consummate professional, a leader of the highest caliber, and a genuinely nice man.  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to get to know him and his lovely wife Annie.  John was truly one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known and he will be greatly missed.”


Michael Curie
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

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