Glenn chats with space station to mark anniversary

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) ? John Glenn says being able to speak live with the International Space Station was a “great surprise” as he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his historic spaceflight.

The astronaut and senator from Ohio became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. He marked the anniversary Monday at Ohio State University by kicking off a forum about NASA’s future.

He sat on stage with NASA administrator Charles Bolden and chatted with three space station crew members about research in space and NASA’s future. Commander Don Burbank appeared by video link, flanked by two flight engineers floating in the zero-gravity environment.

Burbank said Glenn’s momentous flight paved the way for ongoing work on the space station. He said the crew was delighted to help commemorate that trip.