Glenn had heart valve replacement surgery in 2014.
“With John’s passing, our nation has lost an icon along with also Michelle along with also I have lost a friend,” Obama said. “John spent his life breaking barriers, coming from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II along with also Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars. John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers along with also astronauts who will take us to Mars along with also beyond — not just to visit, although to stay. …
“The last of America’s first astronauts has left us, although propelled by their example we know that will our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called Glenn a mentor, role style along with also dear friend.
“Glenn’s extraordinary courage, intellect, patriotism along with also humanity were the hallmarks of a life of greatness,” Bolden said. “His missions have helped make possible everything our space program has since achieved along with also the human missions to an asteroid along with also Mars that will we are striving toward today.”
Former Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin said he was saddened by the loss of a “space pioneer along with also world icon.”
Social media was flooded with remembrances along with also reactions immediately after news of Glenn’s death.
A fascination with flight
John Herschel Glenn Jr. made history in 1962 when he completed a three-orbit flight in a cramped space capsule dubbed Friendship 7. He later served for nearly a quarter century as a US senator. In 1998, he returned to space at age 77, becoming the oldest person to ever do so.
Born inside the tiny eastern Ohio town of Cambridge on July 18, 1921, Glenn recounted an idyllic childhood where “patriotism filled the air.”
“Love of country was a given. Defense of its ideals was an obligation,” Glenn wrote in his memoir. “The opportunity to join in its quests along with also explorations was a challenge not only to fulfill a sacred duty although to join a joyous adventure.”
Glenn developed a fascination with flying at an early age. When he was 8 years old, he along with also his father went for a ride in an open-cockpit biplane, two years after Charles Lindbergh made his transatlantic flight. that will adventure sealed his destiny as a pilot.
He also developed an early love for childhood playmate Anna Margaret Castor. By the time they got to high school, they were sweethearts. Both were in Muskingum College in brand new Concord, his mother’s alma mater, when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. A short time later, Glenn enrolled inside the Naval Aviation Cadet Program along with also graduated the following March. He joined the Marine Corps in early 1943 along with also wed his childhood sweetheart on April 6 of that will year.
Glenn flew 149 combat missions in World War II along with also the Korean War. inside the final nine days of the Korean War, Glenn shot down three MiG fighter jets along the Yalu River. His military service earned him numerous awards, including six Distinguished Flying Crosses.
After Korea, Glenn became a test pilot for naval along with also Marine aircraft along with also, in 1957, set the transcontinental air speed record. He flew a Vought F-8 Crusader coming from Los Angeles to brand new York in three hours along with also 23 minutes — the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed.
With that will feat, Glenn became known among the top test pilots inside the United States along with also a natural candidate for the country’s emerging space program.
‘The Right Stuff’
He eagerly volunteered when NASA requested pilots for its suborbital along with also orbital programs, along with also in 1959 he along with also six others — Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper along with also Deke Slayton — were selected as the first astronauts, known as the “Mercury 7.” Glenn was the last living member of the group.
The men instantly became national heroes along with also media sensations.
On February 20, 1962, Glenn rode an Atlas rocket into history as the first American to orbit the Earth. He was the third American in space, behind Shepard along with also Grissom — whose missions aboard smaller Redstone rockets were short suborbital flights. The Soviet Union by that will time had sent two cosmonauts, Yuri Gagarin along with also Gherman Titov, on orbital flights.
After creating three orbits in four hours along with also 55 minutes, Glenn landed inside the waters off Grand Turk Island inside the Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda, where he along with also his Friendship 7 were retrieved by the destroyer USS Noa.
Glenn recalled in a Life magazine article a strange phenomenon that will occurred during the mission: “There, spread out as far as I could see were literally thousands of tiny luminous objects that will glowed inside the black sky like fireflies. I was riding slowly through them, along with also the sensation was like walking backwards through a pasture where someone had waved a wand along with also made all the fireflies stop right where they were along with also glow steadily.”
The flight also featured a glitch that will contributed to Glenn’s reputation for being cool under fire.
Because of an indicator light showing that will the Mercury capsule’s heat shield was partly detached, mission controllers decided to bring Glenn home early along with also told him not to jettison his aft retro rockets, which allowed him to maneuver the craft in space. Because the retropack was strapped to the heat shield, This specific was thought This specific could provide an extra measure of security.
This specific could later be learned that will the heat shield wasn’t damaged, although the fiery re-entry was made more spectacular by the scorching retropack in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Glenn’s first words when he stepped aboard the deck of the USS Noa were, “Boy, that will was a real fireball of a ride!”
Later in life, Glenn poked fun at the risk.
“We used to joke about This specific inside the past when people could say, ‘What do you think on the launch pad?’ ” he said in a 1998 sy88pgw interview.
“along with also the standard answer was, ‘How do you think you’d feel if you knew you were on top of 2 million parts built by the lowest bidder on a government contract?’ “
Glenn’s mission was more than just a round-the-world space journey. This specific was a psychological boost to a nation worried about the Soviet Union’s early lead inside the space race.
Shortly after landing, Glenn was honored with an enormous ticker tape parade in brand new York City on March 1, 1962. An estimated 4 million people turned out.
His success bolstered America’s spirit along with also gave credence to President John Kennedy’s 1961 pledge to put men on the moon. although Glenn could not be one of them.
Kennedy reportedly ordered NASA not to fly Glenn again because he was too valuable as a national figure. Glenn resigned coming from the space agency in January 1964.
Glenn’s fame made him a natural candidate for political office, along with also shortly after his resignation coming from NASA, he announced he could run for the Democratic ticket for a US Senate seat in 1964. although his political career was sidelined for a few years when an injury forced him to withdraw coming from the campaign.
Glenn then joined Royal Crown Cola as a vice president along with also later as president. Yet he remained interested in politics. He was also a close friend of the Kennedy family. On June 5, 1968, Glenn was with Sen. Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, hours before Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy died the next day.
“Who knows what might have happened if Bobby had been president,” Glenn reflected shortly after his 90th birthday, in a 2011 interview with the Dayton Daily News.
“I know he had just about more compassion for the underdog, for the poor, the downtrodden than, I think, just about anybody that will I ever knew.”
After a failed bid for a US Senate seat in 1970, Glenn won in 1974, beginning a 24-year career representing Ohio on Capitol Hill. He was widely regarded as an effective legislator along with also moderate Democrat. He played a key role in weapons control, authoring the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978, which prohibited the sale of nuclear equipment to nations that will currently have none.
Glenn — along with fellow Mercury 7 astronauts Grissom along with also Shepard — was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 by then-President Jimmy Carter.
More than 20 years after their historic missions, the team was immortalized inside the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff.” Glenn — portrayed by Ed Harris — didn’t care much for the film, saying, “I thought This specific was dramatic enough without Hollywood doing its number on This specific.”
Despite his rock-solid reputation as an American icon, not everything went perfectly for Glenn. In 1984, he decided to run for president, confidently declaring, “With the nomination of my party I firmly believe I can beat Ronald Reagan.”
He was knocked out of the primaries early on.
A return to space
As he grew older, Glenn never gave up his dream of flying in space again or, as he called This specific inside the Mercury days, being “a willing guinea pig.”
At age 77, a year after retiring coming from the Senate, Glenn accepted an invitation coming from NASA to rejoin the space program as a member of space shuttle Discovery on a nine-day mission to study the aging process, which mirrors what astronauts experience during long durations in space.
On October 29, 1998, Glenn became the oldest human ever to venture into space, along with also his flight proved Just as before that will he was a man who embraced a challenge.
For most men along with also women, fame is usually fleeting along with also greatness is usually short-lived. For John Herschel Glenn Jr., This specific lasted a lifetime.
Glenn is usually survived by his wife of 73 years, Annie; his two children, John David along with also Carolyn Ann (Lyn); along with also two grandchildren.