NASA’S Final Launch, John Glenn Turns 90

by Danielle Cotterman on July 6, 2011 at 7:20 am

NASA’s 135th and final space shuttle launch is set for Friday, this comes at a time when a national hero and astronaut from New Concord will celebrate his 90th Birthday.

It was almost 50 years ago John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. Today Glenn is still involved in his hometown community, where he serves on the Muskingum University Board of Trustees and contributed to the opening of the John and Annie Glenn Museum. Volunteer Tour Guide and friend of John Glenn, Dr. Rudy Gerlach remembers the day.

"If you would have been there for the big homecoming parade after we had had after John Glenn made that first flight," expressed Gerlach, "You would know what it met to the area because New Concord was packed with people and he is our hero."

Gerlach first met Glenn about twelve years ago, and has been volunteering at the historic home and museum since it first opened nine years ago. He said children today don’t understand the triumph of that mission.

"It’s very interesting giving these tours to the school children and the other day a little 4th grade boy said to me, are you John’s father?" laughed Gerlach. "And that was eye opening."

The shuttle Atlantis will mark NASA’s 135th and final space shuttle launch. At the end of the 12 day mission it and the two remaining shuttles will become official museum pieces.