BY KATHERINE RIZZO
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Now that he's been back on Earth for a few weeks, Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, can chuckle as he admits to the embarrassing details of his history-making flight: The flying part was fine, but gravity was a problem.
After Discovery ended its nine-day mission, there was a long time lapse before its crew emerged for the traditional inspection walk.
America's oldest astronaut gave a reason Tuesday: nausea. He was throwing up.
"I didn't feel so hot," he told reporters. "I was glad I could walk off, but I was going to do the walk-around if it was on my hands and knees."
Mr. Glenn said he'd been concerned about space sickness, which many astronauts experience while aloft, so he took precautions during liftoff.
But on the return, "I preloaded with too much fluid coming down."
The 77-year-old retiring senator said he had not been nauseated during the flight itself, which was a relief because he tends to get seasick (though never airsick).
And he let a little bit of his old test-pilot self show through. Asked whether he would have been able to land the shuttle, the words were not fully out of the questioner's
mouth before Mr. Glenn shot back.
"Of course," he said. "I could land the box it came in."
Mr. Glenn is back in the Senate for a few final, uneventful weeks, overseeing his staff as it packs up the office.
As part of the kickoff of Mr. Glenn's next phase of life, Ohio State University was preparing a gala in his honor this evening at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
Special Coverage: JOHN GLENN'S 'MISSION OF DISCOVERY'