SPACE

Mar 2, 2012 6:51 AM by AP

NASA center marks 50 years since Glenn spaceflight

CLEVELAND (AP) - John Glenn is slated to give a keynote speech as the Ohio NASA research center bearing his name continues celebrating the recent 50th anniversary of his historic spaceflight.

The former astronaut and U.S. senator from Ohio became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962.

NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland planned to honor him in a program Friday afternoon. The center's director and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden also were scheduled to speak.

The 90-year-old Glenn had celebrated the anniversary on Feb. 20 with family, friends and fellow astronauts in a gala at Ohio State University, where the public affairs school is named for him. NASA also surprised him that day with an unusual anniversary gift, enabling him to speak live with the International Space Station.

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