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John Glenn, First American to Orbit the Earth, Has Died at 95

John Glenn, First American to Orbit the Earth, Has Died at 95

Astronaut, engineer, aviator, war veteran, and US Senator John Glenn has passed away in the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 95 after being hospitalized at James Cancer Hospital for more than a week.

Glenn, a true man of the frontier, was constantly pushing what was possible, not just in his own life, but for humanity. On February 20, 1962—as a part of the Project Mercury flights—Glenn became the fifth human to break the chains of gravity and the first American to orbit the Earth. After retiring from NASA, Glenn continued to push into personal frontiers and became a United States Senator for the state of Ohio. He was the oldest former state Senator until earlier today.

johnglenn_picGlenn before his second space flight on October 29, 1998, on Space Shuttle Discovery’s STS-95.

Glenn’s illustrious careers made him a classic American hero—fighting in both World War II and the Korean War in addition to his service to NASA and the US Government, Glenn earned numerous awards including six Distinguished Flying Cross medals, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

But Glenn never stopped pushing himself. In 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space at age 77 (as a sitting senator). In total, Glenn accumulated over 9 days in space.

Upon feeling weightlessness for the first time aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft, Glenn was quoted as saying, “Zero G, and I feel fine.” A Presbyterian who saw no conflict between the belief in God and scientific fact, one can only hope that wherever he is now, he is having the same experience.

Images: NASA

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