Former NASA astronaut Eileen Collins hailed the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth as a very wise and mission-oriented person she aspired to be like.
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“When I was a child, I read about the Mercury astronauts, I read about the Gemini astronauts and John Glenn of course was such a wonderful role model. I learned about his life, learned about the kind of person he was and like many astronauts my age we would strive to be just like him,” Collins said during an interview on the FOX Business Network’s The Intelligence Report.
As his protégé, Collins said Glenn was able to give her a great sense of commitment and selfless dedication to the space program.
“I admire his ambition. I admire his dedication to the mission. He wanted to do as much as he could and he wasn’t just there for himself, to bring attention to himself. He really wanted to do the right thing for the space program and I think that is something that all of us try to emulate,” she said.
The first female shuttle commander said she last saw Glenn when Space Shuttle Discovery was put on permanent display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the National Air and Space Museum, in 2012.
“He never wanted to retire the space shuttles. He wanted to keep flying them. The original plan was to fly to 2020 with space shuttles, but of course because of the last accident [involving Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003], we decided to shut the shuttle program down. John Glenn didn’t agree with that. He wanted to continue to flying the shuttles,” Collins said.
Glenn, a former U.S. Senator, died on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. He was 95.