— In honor of Senator John Glenn's (D-Ohio) scheduled return to
space on October 29, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum today
announced a special display of materials from the Library’s
collection on Glenn’s first orbital space flight in 1962. The
new exhibit opens Saturday, October 24.
the materials which will be displayed for the first time are a model
of the Friendship
7 Project Mercury space capsule and the atlas booster rocket
presented by Glenn to President Kennedy; a piece of hardware from
the spacecraft’s Umbilical Cord, described in a letter to Kennedy
from NASA chief James Webb as “the last link between the earth and
the Mercury Capsule just before the moment of liftoff”; and a
handwritten note from Glenn to Kennedy thanking him “for the many
kindnesses and courtesies you have extended to me and my family.”
Also displayed are a memo
from President Kennedy to Vice President Lyndon Johnson,
Chairman of the Space Council, asking if "we are working 24
hours a day on existing space programs" and whether the U.S.
had "a chance of beating the Soviets" by putting a man on
the moon, and Vice President Johnson's response;
buttons from 1962 emblazoned with “Welcome Back to Earth
Glenn” and “The New Frontier Man of the Year - Astronaut John
Glenn”; and a replica of Glenn’s space suit.
The exhibit also features a video of Marine
Corps Lieutenant Colonel Glenn's blastoff with commentary by CBS
anchor Walter Cronkite; footage of Glenn in the orbiting capsule;
and excerpts from President Kennedy's September
12, 1962 speech at Rice University in Houston, Texas where
he restated the nation's resolve of landing a man on the moon and
returning him safely to the earth before the decade was over.
In his remarks following the successful
orbital flight on February 20, 1962, President Kennedy described
Glenn as "the kind of American of whom we are most proud."
The President concluded by saying, "Some months ago I said that
I hoped every American would serve his country. Today Colonel Glenn
served his, and we all express our thanks to him."
This past summer, Senator Glenn donated his
services to the Kennedy Library and Museum by recording a public
service radio ad promoting the Museum’s space program exhibit. In
the radio spot, Glenn recalls:
definitely in a race to see whether communism or our brand of
democracy was going to survive. Against that backdrop (came)
President Kennedy's declaration that we were going to go to the
moon...we're going to set a goal and show the confidence in it
that we could do it. And I gulped a few times when he made that
pledge, but we did it.
Back then, you know, some of the doctors
had predicted even things like your eyeballs might change shape in
extended weightlessness, or could you swallow, could you even
control a spacecraft.
I was privileged to represent this
country once by doing the first orbital flight and here I am all
these years later going up and having the same experience again.
And that's exciting.
(Copies of the Glenn public service announcement are available
to the press.)
20, 1962, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. became
the first American to circle the earth during a five-hour flight
that earned him the respect and love of the entire nation. John
Glenn blasted into orbit as part of a space race between the United
States and the Soviet Union in which the Americans were lagging. The
successful completion of Glenn’s mission — he orbited the earth
three times — did much to restore American prestige worldwide.
Encased in a bulky, pressurized suit, strapped into a seat, and
crammed into a tiny capsule, Glenn put his life at risk as he
traveled at 17,500 miles per hour, 160 miles above earth.
On October 29, the 77-year-old pioneer
returns to space, this time to study the parallels between
spaceflight and the aging process. To mark the launch of the
STS-95 Mission, the Kennedy Library and Museum will incorporate the
new materials on John Glenn as part of its permanent Space Program
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is
the nation's official memorial to John F. Kennedy, 35th President of
the United States. The Museum at the Kennedy Library offers visitors
an opportunity to step back into the recreated world of the early
1960s and experience first hand the life and legacy of John F.
Kennedy through 25 multi-media exhibits, including three theaters
and period settings. From I.M. Pei's magnificent architectural
achievement, guests enjoy panoramic views of Boston Harbor and the
city's skyline. Located on a ten-acre waterfront park on Columbia
Point, the Kennedy Library and Museum is open daily from 9-5.
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a
presidential library administered by the National Archives and
Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy
Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Library
and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through
educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and
understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the
process of governing and the importance of public service.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library -
Columbia Point - Boston, Massachusetts 02125 Tel: 1-877-616-4599
Fax: 617-929-4538 Email:email@example.com
Kennedy Library Foundation - Columbia Point - Boston, Massachusetts
02125 Tel: 617-929-1200