Space Awareness

A Tribute to John Glenn

Written by: developer

Born John Herschel Glenn, Jr., on July 18, 1921, John Glenn would become one of the most recognizable names in American history.

An Ohio native, Glenn earned his bachelor of science degree in engineering from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. In 1942, Glenn entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, and upon his graduation the following year, was commissioned into the Marine Corps. That same year, on April 6, Glenn married his childhood friend and high school sweetheart, Annie.

Glenn flew 59 combat mission during World War II, 90 combat mission in Korea in 1953 and in April 1959, NASA selected Glenn as one of seven astronauts for Project Mercury. On Feb. 20, 1962, Glenn became the first human to orbit the Earth, on his mission aboard Friendship 7. This historic flight made Glenn a household name, and an instant American hero as America and the Soviet Union were in the midst of the infamous space race.

Two years after his journey around the world, Glenn resigned as an astronaut and from the Marine Corps the following year. He became active in the politics of his home state and won a Senate seat in 1974. He served four terms in the Senate.

In 1998, the space community celebrated another John Glenn first, as he became the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77 as a payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery for the STS-95 mission.

Along with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Glenn received the Congressional Gold Medal for Distinguished Astronauts. The following year, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama who was quoted calling Glenn a hero who “inspired generations of future explorers.”

Glenn’s daughter Lyn christened a U.S. Navy ship, the Mobile Landing Platform John Glenn in February 2014. In April 2015, a ribbon cutting ceremony was performed for the opening of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University, and earlier this year in June, the Port Columbus Airport was renamed the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

At the age of 95, John Glenn passed away, but his legacy will not be forgotten. Godspeed.

This article is part of Space Watch: January 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 1).