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John Glenn Facts

United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth

  • John Glenn was born July 18, 1921. He is named John Herschel Glenn, Jr.
  • He is a former United States Marine Corps pilot and astronaut.
  • He is the first United States senator to orbit the Earth, the third American in space and fifth person in space.
  • He was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original astronaut group.
  • He orbited the Earth in Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962.
  • On February 23, 1962 President Kennedy escorted him in a parade to Hanger S at Canaveral Air Force station where he awarded Glenn with the NASA service medal.
  • Glenn resigned from NASA six weeks after the assassination of John F. Kennedy to run for office in his home state of Ohio.
  • NASA psychologists determined during Glenn's training that he was the astronaut best suited for public life.
  • He represented Ohio in the United States Senate from 1974 to 1999.
  • He received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978.
  • He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • On October 29, 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs, when at age 77, he flew on Discovery (STS-95). The space program was taken up in order to study the effects of space flight on the elderly.
  • In 2009, he received an honorary LL.D from Williams College.
  • In 2010, he received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Ohio Northern University.
  • As of 2012, Glenn and M. Scott Carpenter are the last living members of the Mercury Seven.
  • Glenn vehemently opposed the sending of Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist, to the International Space Station on the grounds that Tito's trip served no scientific purpose.
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