COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — John Glenn plans to mark the 50th anniversary of his historic spaceflight with a series of events at Ohio State University, including a special dinner and a live chat with crew members aboard the International Space Station.

The former astronaut and senator from Ohio became the first American to orbit Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. The trip helped the United States catch up to the Soviet Union's accomplishments in space, and Glenn says he thinks it was a turning point for America's national psyche.

The 90-year-old is now the namesake of a public affairs school at Ohio State. That's where he and NASA administrator Charles Bolden will speak with the space station Monday before a celebratory dinner and a speech by former astronaut Mark Kelly.

Veterans of NASA's Project Mercury are reuniting in Florida to celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's momentous orbital flight, visiting the old launch pad and marveling over what they accomplished.

More than 100 men and women who helped launch Glenn and the other Mercury 7 astronauts gathered at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday. They traveled by the busloads to Launch Complex 14. That's the pad from which Glenn rocketed away on Feb. 20, 1962, to become the first American in orbit.

Now in their 70s and 80s, the Project Mercury retirees took pictures of the abandoned pad and nearby blockhouse, and of one another. Later they were to meet with Glenn and Scott Carpenter, the last two surviving Mercury astronauts.