Glenn Goes Retro

The aging spaceman relives his first voyage with the help of a light show.

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Everything’s just peachy for John Glenn. And on the second day of his back-to-space voyage, the man who is ostensibly a humble payload specialist continues to get more attention from the planet below him than all other shuttle astronauts, past and present, put together. The city of Perth in Western Australia, nostalgic about the night it lit up for Glenn’s Friendship 7 fly-by, decided to go one brighter. The grand old spaceman saw their luminous display for about five minutes, and pronounced it better than 1962: "They’ve really got them lit up tonight," Glenn said. So wrapped up was the Ohio senator, he mistakenly called Houston mission control "Cape" -- which it was, 36 years ago.

It wasn't just Perth, or the momentary slip –- this 77-year-old has been getting retro with the whole trip. "Zero-g and I feel fine," said Glenn -- then and now -- when mission control wanted to know how he was adjusting to microgravity. Not to mention the "godspeed" references uttered ad nauseam Thursday, or the fact that when the shuttle flight passed the mark of Glenn’s previous extraterrestrial excursion –- four hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds –- it was conspicuously pored over. Now that the aged astronaut is in uncharted territory, however, the nostalgia trip has nowhere left to go. "I don’t know what happens down the line," he said, "but today is beautiful and great." Amen, John Glenn.