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An Astronaut, a Rhino and a Rocket Walk Into a Bar

Okay, well, they really didn't, but now that I have your attention, please continue to read.


To most children, the home your parents rented when they were first married would not matter nor be a topic of conversation. It was not until I was older that my interest in space exploration began, and I began to follow space-related news even before moving to the Space Coast of Florida where I enjoy all the rocket launches.

 

I was planning a vacation to Titusville, Florida, and my dad asked what I had planned. At the top of my list of adventures, I told him I was excited to visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and this is when I learned of the most exciting news.


Astronaut Winston Scott and  Kerri standing in front of a mock-up shuttle.
Astronaut Winston Scott was the first Astronaut I ever had the opportunity to meet which was during the Astronaut Training Experience while at KSC for the first time.

Before building the home I grew up in, my parents rented a house when they were first married, which was not just any ordinary home; it was the birthplace of Astronaut and Senator John Glenn. He and his family later moved to New Concord, Ohio, which was just a hop, skip, and jump away. If you visit New Concord, you can visit the John and Annie Glenn Museum to learn more about John Glenn.


Birthplace of John Glenn in Cambridge, Ohio. Grey two-story ouse with snow on the groundt
2001 Foster Avenue, Cambridge, Ohio is the birthplace of John Glenn.

I could hardly believe it. My parents once lived where John Glenn was born! My dad was not nearly as excited as I was about this, and my mom may have been, but at the time my dad told me about this, my mom had since passed away. John Glenn. The Astronaut, Ohio Senator, the very first American to orbit Earth. How cool is that? Wait, it gets better. I know you think there is no way but keep reading.

 

As an animal lover, I love all animals, especially exotic animals such as elephants, giraffes, gorillas, and rhinoceros. There is a place called The Wilds nestled in Southeastern Ohio, which sits on about 10,000 acres of reclaimed land that was donated to them by American Electric Power (AEP as most customers in that area know them)

 

One of my favorite rhino species is the Greater One-Horned Rhino. Well, one of the females at The Wilds had a baby and guess what they named it? You got it, Glenn. Glenn was given that name to honor the late Senator Glenn, who passed away on December 8, 2017, at 95. Baby Glenn, as I still like to call him, now lives at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.



 The zoo posted a photo of Glenn, and I made a comment which a local person commented on. Through some private conversations with this person, I learned she is a docent at the zoo and has also seen Glenn up close. It is nice to know someone who has some involvement with the zoo so I can get updates, even if I just feel the need to pass along the hopes she can scratch Glenn behind the ears from me. From the day on my first tour, where I was sitting on the back of a pick-up truck anxiously awaiting to give him snacks, I fell in love with this baby rhino. Sure, it was because his name was Glenn, but he was a spunky little rhino with a cute smile.

 

Since my interest was sparked even more at Cape Family Day where I had the opportunity to have a photo take at LC-36, I have been anxiously awaiting the Blue Origin rocket, New Glenn, to be vertical on the pad, and with each news story, I knew it was getting closer.


Kerri jumping up at Blue Origin Launch Complex 36
During Cape Family Day I was able to get this fun photo taken by a Blue Origin employee at LC-36.

On February 21, 2024, the world was finally introduced to New Glenn on their brand-new pad. Launch Complex 36 (LC-36) on the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Blue Origin’s New Glenn is methane-fueled and will have a variety of payloads.


Blue Origin, New Glenn rocket at Launch Complex 36
New Glenn vertical at LC-36 on February 21, 2024 (Photo credit, Blue Origin, LinkedIn Post)

Now living on the Space Coast, I look back and realize how the world tells me this is where I belong. My childhood best friend lived on Foster Ave., the same street that John Glenn was born on, and the house my parents later rented was John Glenn's place of birth. I grew fondly attached to a rhino named Glenn, and now Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket is vertical for testing on LC-36. Rockets, rhinos and astronauts are cool!

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