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1998 Interview with US Senator John Glenn

ST-A13-60-62  President Kennedy inspects the interior of the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule with Astronaut Col. John Glenn, Jr.

Note to Listeners: Audio begins in 15 seconds.

The following audio is the entire recording of an interview with U.S. Senator John Glenn conducted by the Library's pro bono ad agency, The Martin Agency of Richmond, Virginia, in the Summer of 1998. Senator Glenn donated his services to the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum by granting this interview from which a public service radio ad was produced by the Martin Agency to promote the Museum's new space program exhibit.

In honor of Senator John Glenn's (D-Ohio) return to space on October 29, 1998, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum introduced a new, permanent exhibit which displayed materials from the Library's collection on Glenn's 1962 space flight when he became the first American to orbit the earth.

On February 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.

In his remarks following the successful orbital flight, 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."

On October 29, 1998, the 77-year-old pioneer returned 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 has incorporated the new materials on John Glenn as part of its permanent Space Program exhibit.