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Space station not used sufficiently, Glenn says

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The country is not getting its money's worth out of the international space station, John Glenn said Tuesday, the 45th anniversary of the day he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Diverting money from the orbiting research outpost to President Bush's goal of sending astronauts back to the moon and eventually on to Mars is preventing some scientific experiments on the space station, Glenn told an audience of about 300 high school students and space enthusiasts at the COSI Columbus science center.

"To not utilize that station the way I think it ought to be utilized is just wrong," said Glenn, 85, also a former U.S. senator.

Glenn made three trips around the planet inside his Friendship 7 capsule on Feb. 20, 1962, making him a national hero and proving that the nascent NASA space program was competitive with the Soviet Union, which had accomplished a manned orbital flight a year earlier.

In 1998, Glenn, then 77, flew on the shuttle Discovery and became the oldest person ever in space.