- John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the planet, passed away
- He was among the first batch of astronauts trained by NASA
- He served as a US Senator and became the oldest person to go to space at age 77
John Glenn, the astronaut who made history as the first American to orbit the Earth, has passed away.
He was 95, and died at the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University in Columbus.
Glenn was the last surviving member of the so-called “Mercury Seven” who were the first batch of American astronauts trained by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
After serving as a pilot during World War II and the Korean War, he was recruited to the space program.
On February 20, 1962, he orbited the planet aboard the Friendship 7 during the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. He managed to circle the globe three times during that flight which lasted almost five hours.
This made him the first American to orbit the planet, the third American and just the fifth human to be launched in space.
Later, he became a United States Senator representing his home state of Ohio; serving between 1974 and 1999. During his stint in the US Senate, he became Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee.
But the call of the “Last Frontier” brought Glenn to wear his spacesuit once again. While serving as an incumbent Senator at age 77, Glenn boarded the shuttle Discovery and became the oldest person to go to outer space.
“Maybe prior to this flight, we were looked at as old geezers who ought to get out of the way. Just because you’re up in years some doesn’t mean you don’t have hopes and dreams and aspirations just as much as younger people do,” Glenn said after his successful mission in 1998, as quoted in an article previously published in InterAksyon.
Glenn will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years and childhood sweetheart, Annie Castor, their two children, and grandchildren.