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Last updated 5:51PM ET
February 25, 2021
Space Group Hopes to Recreate John's Glenn's Mercury Flight
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Have you always wanted to be an astronaut? This may be your chance. A private organization that hopes to recreate Glenn's 1962 launch on its 50th anniversary is seeking applications from potential astronauts.

Previous space flight isn't required. But candidates must be U.S. citizens, have at least 1,500 hours of experience piloting high-performance aircraft and hold all the necessary flight documents. And, to fit into the tiny Mercury capsule, don't bother to apply if you're taller than 5-foot-11.

Craig Russell is president of Americans In Orbit-50 Years, which is based in the Huntsville suburb of Madison. He says the group hopes to name a flier in a couple of years if fund-raising and other factors come together to make the project a reality.

The idea is to raise about $35 million to buy a Falcon 9 rocket from California-based SpaceX, which has a launch facility at Cape Canaveral. Russell says another $10 million or so would be needed to build an improved Mercury capsule, capitalizing on the original plans and engineering.

Chris Kraft was NASA's flight director for Glenn's mission. He thinks it's great that people want to commemorate Glenn's achievement. But he doesn't think much of the group's idea, calling it dangerous and more difficult than organizers realize.

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