Mike Foreman was 8 years old when he decided he wanted to become an astronaut. He said it was because of one person — John Glenn.
“He was definitely a great American hero,” he said, adding that Glenn’s death is “a great loss. I’ll miss him.”
Astronaut Michael J. Foreman of NASA Glenn Research Center speaks at the NASA CORE educational material distribution center at Lorain County JVS in Oberlin.
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Foreman, 59, grew up in Wadsworth and graduated from Wadsworth High School in 1975.
Foreman was chosen to join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration program in June 1998 and served until 2014.
“I was inspired by him as a young boy,” Foreman said.
When Foreman was working at NASA, his office was just down the hall from Glenn’s. One Christmas, Foreman worked on coming up with entertainment for an astronaut luncheon.
“We asked him to help us with a skit,” Foreman said.
“He said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ We actually got him to be a stowaway on a (space trip), like he was going back for (another) mission.
“He had a good sense of humor. He was a great guy.”
When Foreman was leaving NASA, he said Glenn wrote a “glowing” endorsement letter for him.
“That’s the kind of relationship we had,” he said.
Foreman also knew Glenn’s wife, Anna, known as “Annie.”
“She was a great lady, of course,” he said.
Foreman was reached Thursday while he was riding a train with his wife, Lorrie, to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
He said they are taking their family — three grown children and two grandchildren — on a cruise to St. Thomas and the Bahamas.
“We’re leaving from Cape Canaveral, within sight of the launch pad,” Foreman said.
Foreman was part of the STS-123 mission that delivered the Japanese Experiment Module and the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator on the International Space Station. He was also a crew member of the STS-129 mission in November 2009.
He made two flights into space — in March 2008 and November 2009. NASA records show he had more than 637 hours in space including 32 hours and 19 minutes of extravehicular activity in five spacewalks.
His titles at NASA included:
- liaison between the Johnson Space Center and the Kennedy Space Center;
- deputy of the Space Shuttle Branch;
- chief of external programs at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland ;
- Commercial Crew Development Program in the astronaut office;
- safety branch chief in the astronaut office.
Foreman said he last saw Glenn at an Indians game in 2012 or 2013.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.