American space pioneer John Glenn has died at the age of 95 in Ohio. He was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth and he later served in the Senate.
John Glenn traveled into space and returned an American Hero.
On February 20th, 1962, Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth.
The Historic trip came in the midst of the Cold War. The Soviet Union had already sent two cosmonauts into orbit. Glenn’s mission helped the United States catch up in “The Space Race.”
John Glenn was born in 1921 in Ohio. He became a marine pilot after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Glenn would go on to fly nearly 150 missions during World War II and the Korean War.
His experience and skill caught NASA’s attention. The fledgling agency picked him as one of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. Space Program — the Mercury Seven.
The world watched as Glenn circled the globe three times in the Friendship 7 Capsule.
The flight transformed him into a national hero complete with a ticker tape parade.
After his career as an astronaut, Glenn ran for the Senate from his home state of Ohio, winning on his third try.
During his four terms in the Senate, Glenn, a Democrat, chaired the powerful Governmental Affairs Committee.
He ran for the Nationa’s highest office in 1984, but his bid never picked up steam.
After retiring from Capitol Hill, Glenn made history again, becoming the oldest person ever in space. At the age of 77, Glenn joined the crew of the space shuttle Discovery to research the aging process.
Glenn said of the mission, “To help older people here on earth escape some of the frailties of old age. That’s the purpose of why I’m here.”
Glenn’s other great love besides space, was his wife Annie. The childhood sweethearts were married for more than 60 years and had two children. In his 90’s Glenn was still a passionate advocate of space travel and was not happy that the U.S. retired it’s shuttle fleet.
But he was optimistic about the future … expecting man to one day go to Mars and beyond.