Aviation Pioneers

John Herschel Glenn – First US Astronaut to Orbit the Earth

His 1962 flight, in which he took part as the first US astronaut to orbit the earth with Friendship7 capsule, made him an international hero. John Herschel Glenn later had a long career in the US Senate. Glenn, the last survivor of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, was 95 years old when he passed away.

John Herschel Glenn
source: US Embassy and Consulates

Before his first flight, Glenn asked the legendary NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson to recheck the calculations of the electronic computer for the landmark launch in February 1962, according to rumors.

When Glenn was rising loudly from the Cape Canaveral launch pad in 1962 to a place where America had never been, his astronaut friend Scott Carpenter said on the radio, “God open the way, John Glenn.” Glenn was 40 years old then.

John Glenn took part in two separate battles as a fighter pilot before his space adventure. As a test pilot, he broke the intercontinental speed record. After his aviation and space adventure, he served in the Senate for 24 years as a senator from Ohio. However, his space adventure did not come to an end, despite his advanced age. Returning to space at the age of 77 in 1998 on the shuttle named Discovery, he broke the record for the oldest person in space.

Glenn was often asked about whether or not he was afraid, and to these questions, “If you are talking about a fear that prevents you from doing what you were expected to do, no. Very strict training is given for these flights”, he had answered.

John Herschel Glenn – “There is still no cure for the common birthday”

Glenn spent 24 years in the US Senate, becoming the longest serving senator in the State’s history. In 1995, 35 years after becoming the first American in orbit, he announced his retirement, saying “There is still no cure for the common birthday.”

John Herschel Glenn
source: Texas Monthly

Glenn returned to space on his long-awaited second flight on the space shuttle Discovery in 1998, and conducted many experiments for NASA.

In 1943, Glenn married his childhood sweetheart Anna Margaret Castor. A friend reported that they met when they were both little kids, and when Anna Margaret was suffering from mumps as a teenager, Glenn went to her home and drilled a hole in the wire of her bedroom window and gave her a radio to accompany her.

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