Normally, following an event like the death of John Glenn, a blogger like me would share video of his Mercury flight. It is, of course, what he was most famous for, being the first American to orbit the Earth back in 1962.
My personal experience with John Glenn, however, is a bit more unique – back in middle school, one October day in 1998, we gathered in the school gym with several TV sets tuned in to CNN, and what else was on the screen but a Space Shuttle ready for launch. At least, that’s what I recall – who knows, for sure, as human memory is incredibly poor (contrary to what people think.) so the TV sets could have been off.
Whatever case, we were all sat down in the gym to watch a Shuttle launch, something that, thanks to being a student and it being the pre-internet days for me to where I couldn’t gather information of upcoming launches well at all, this was a rare treat to get to see!
I don’t know if I already knew John Glenn was going back into space, or if I had learned about it during this day – I want to think I already knew it was happening, but again, I can’t be sure – but in any case, it was absolutely awesome to get to see! I was going to watch a launch, in school, that wasn’t just a regular shuttle flight – this was the launch of John Glenn, now 77 years old – a true legend would return to space!
Needless to say, it was an amazing experience that, while somewhat faded due to time and my dislike of middle school on a whole, clearly I do have some strong memories of. The biggest memory was me counting down the time of events, the engine start, booster ignition and launch commit, and eventually SRB separation – in virtually any launch, including footage you see below, people always seem to clap at booster staging, like it was something special. I mean, yeah, it is a critical moment, but at the same time it’s a standard event. I don’t know, maybe I get so caught up in the moment, and have such a good understanding, event as a child back then, about the chain of events that happen before, during, and after a launch I’m thinking more of it like someone in mission control than I do a fan.
Then again, people at first gasped when the booster separated, so clearly they, fellow students around 10-13 age range, clearly thought something bad had happened. Eh, it is what it is, but that’s a funny moment, and clearly the most memorable aspect of this launch for me.
In any case, as always, I provide below footage – both the CNN feed I watched that day, but also a more proper feed of just the launch, and some additional footage that was too good, as raw video, not to share.
I have more on STS-95 coming, so stay tuned.