In 2005, Stephen Colbert commented, “twenty-two astronauts were born in Ohio. What is it about your state [Ohio] that makes people want to flee the earth?” While Colbert may be misinformed about life in Ohio, he was right that Ohio has produced a significant number of astronauts. As of 2015, 25 astronauts (out of ~325 U.S. astronauts) are from the Buckeye state. Based on this data, approximately 8% of astronauts are from Ohio, whereas the state makes up 4% of the total U.S. population. This means there is a proportionately high percentage of astronauts from the Midwestern state. Ohioans have also accomplished several NASA landmarks including:
Neil Armstrong (Wapakoneta) – 1st person to walk on the moon (1969)
John Glenn (Cambridge) – 1st American to orbit the earth (1962)
Sunita Williams (Euclid) – Record for total cumulative spacewalk time by a female astronaut
Robert Overmyer (Westlake) – Piloted STS-5, the 1st fully operational flight of the Shuttle (1982)
Michael Gernhardt (Mansfield) – 1st U.S. spacewalk from the International Space Station (2001)
It is believed that many of our astronauts are from Ohio because of the field’s pioneers and fellow Ohioans, Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, who served as role models. The state was also the birthplace of flight thanks to the Wright Brothers. Others can thank the state’s school system for instilling a strong worth ethic.
In addition to numerous accomplishments, the 1995 STS-70 mission had an “all” Ohio crew. Four of the five shuttle’s crew members (Nancy Currie, Tom Henricks, Don Thomas, and Mary Ellen Weber) were from Ohio. Ohio Governor, George Voinovich attended the launch and made the fifth crew member an honorary Ohio citizen. During the flight, the Cleveland Indians Baseball Song was played as a wake-up call.
The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center is also located in Brook Park, Ohio. The Cleveland-area research center is one of ten NASA science and technology development centers in the United States.
Source via: grc.nasa.gov