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Launch Day
IMAGE: Payload Specialist John Glenn prepares for ingress  on launch day
A Kennedy Space Center technician helps Payload Specialist John Glenn prepare to board the shuttle on launch day.
Inflight Events
*Glenn's NASA 40th Anniversary Message
*U.S. News Conference
*Educational Event

Inflight Event:
John Glenn's NASA 40th Anniversary Message

I just want to wish all the NASA employees and all the people there on the ground a very happy 40th anniversary of NASA. And I say that at this time with particular pride, because I'm a colleague right now of NASA and all of you there on the ground. I'm probably one of the few among you who was around and was a part of NASA at a time back when NASA had just been formed. When the Mercury astronauts were being picked was late 1958, just after NASA had been formed out of the old National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NACA, at that time.

So I go back a long ways in Project Mercury, and things have developed now where we're using space as we thought it should be used -- as a laboratory. A laboratory -- not for war -- but a laboratory for peace, a laboratory that leads on to the International Space Station in which we have all these nations cooperating together.

It's been a wonderful 40 years for NASA and I just wish NASA not only another 40, but many 40 years as we move on out into our solar system eventually, as we do more research. You know, the reason we're up here is not just for us to have some experiments and experience.

We're up here for only one reason, and that's to add to our human understanding on Earth, our storehouse of knowledge that benefits everyone all over this Earth. As I said earlier, to make more gentle, perhaps, life on Earth, and make a better life. And you know, it's been our questing American spirit that has done that in the past -- our curiosity about the new and the unknown. Every advance that occurs, occurs because someone is curious about 'can't we learn something new?' and 'can't we do something differently or add to our storehouse of knowledge?' That's the basis of all progress, and that's what this is all about.

It's a real pleasure to wish every NASA employee a happy 40th and, in fact, I think we should add all of America congratulating NASA and what's happened the last 40 years and wish them at least another good 40 years, in which I'm sure we'll learn even more.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 01/19/2003
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