If you were a fan of the space program you’ll remember when Glenn orbited the earth. I was a kid but my family and I were glued to the television and watched the story unfold. What I didn’t know until I read this book was how long it took for Glenn to go up in Friendship 7. There were many delays, incredibly invasive testing and, didn’t know this either, several attempts were first made with monkeys.
He went into space again when he was 77. In talking about the crew on Discovery he describes himself as “Another subject was a 77 year old 190 lb specimen known as a payload specialist.” He Said he was as much a guinea pig as he had been in in 1962
Muscle loss in elderly is thought to be primary from lack of exercise, but in space astronauts lose muscle from decreased protein production. NASA wanted to monitor and gauge this with a former older astronaut.
While it was the flying and astronaut stories that initially interested me in this book I have to say I enjoyed hearing about his early life.
He met his wife when they were plopped into the same playpen as infants. Their parents were good friends and the friendship, eventually love, blossomed for John and Annie.
Every time he would go away for a long period of time, especially on dangerous missions, they would part with these words.
“I’m just going to the corner store to get a pack of gum” and her response was always “Don’t be long.” The same corny line from that kept the tears in check when left for war, the Korean conflict and being launched into space.
The New York Times stated “At age 36, Major Glenn is reaching the practical age limit for piloting complicated pieces of machinery through the air.” This was after his supersonic flight across the U.S. which took 3 hours and 23 minutes at an average speed of 723 mph.
They’d certainly had no idea what was in store for John Glenn!
I learned quite a bit about John Glenn, his war experiences, his love of flying, the space program and what a patriotic and ethic man he was. There were things I’d forgotten about Glenn such as his bid for the presidency and some of the details of how he ended up in politics.
John Glenn is my third book for the nonfiction challenge hosted by ShelleyRae at Book’d Out
Category is Memoir.