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Astronaut John Herschel Glenn, Jr.
Former NASA Astronaut John Herschel Glenn, Jr. John Glenn seems to have done it all -- college graduate, distinguished war hero, first American to orbit Earth, U.S. senator, the oldest person to fly in space.

The Right Stuff pioneer was born July 18, 1921, at Cambridge, Ohio. He was graduated from New Concord (Ohio) High School, which is known today as John Glenn High School. He earned a B.S. degree in engineering from Muskingum College at New Concord. In 1943, three months into his junior year at college, John Glenn enlisted in the Marine Corps and married Anna Margaret Castor.

In World War II, the pilot flew 59 missions. Later, after two years as flight instructor, John Glenn volunteered for the Korean War, flying 63 missions and shooting down three MIGs. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross six times and several other medals.

John Glenn gained national recognition in 1957 when he set a transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes. The next year, he was selected by NASA to be one of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. space program's Project Mercury.

Four years later, on February 20, 1962, Glenn became a national hero as the first American and third person to orbit Earth. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, he rode inside a capsule named Friendship 7, successfully circling the globe three times and completing his flight in 4 hours 55 minutes 23 seconds. He reached a then-amazing speed near 17,500 mph. Four million spectators lined the streets of Manhattan nine days later to give him a hero's welcome.

President Kennedy didn't want his national hero placed at risk so John Glenn resigned from the space program in 1964. For a time he was an executive with Royal Crown International, but then returned to public service in 1974 as a Democrat elected to the U.S. senate from Ohio. He was re-elected in 1980 by the largest margin in Ohio history, then again in 1986 and 1992. He also campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1984. He then retired from his senate seat in 1999.

His personal conquest of space had not ended. On October 29, 1998, John Glenn, at age 77, became the oldest person in space when he and six other astronauts were lofted to Earth orbit for nine days aboard shuttle Discovery. His mission was to test the effects of space on the elderly.

John Glenn's Space Flights
1962 1998
Solo in capsule
Friendship 7
With six others
in shuttle Discovery
4 hours, 55 minutes 9 or 10 days
162 miles altitude 325 miles altitude
3 orbits
75,680 miles
144 orbits
3.6 million miles
360,000 pounds thrust
Maximum 8 Gs
7 million pounds thrust
Maximum 3 Gs

John Glenn in the News

John Glenn Will Return to Space
Dinosaurs in Space
John Glenn To return To Space
John Glenn's Glory Days Are Back

John Glenn Trains in Centrifuge
John Glenn Loved Space Re-Training
John Glenn Takes a Little Spin

MARCH 1998
John Glenn Links Astronauts with Elderly

APRIL 1998
Clinton Checks John Glenn's Training
Glory Days on the Final Frontier

MAY 1998
Wright Brothers Plane Part Flies with Glenn
John Glenn Is Not Just History Anymore
John Glenn on a Wheaties Box?
John Glenn Has Right Stuff at Right Time
John Glenn's Ageless Appeal

JUNE 1998
John Glenn Gets Ready - Pre-Flight Interview

JULY 1998
John Glenn Retiring to Space
Skeptics View: What Will Glenn Do For Science?
The Science of Discovery
John Glenn's Return to Space
Real science or right stuff for NASA?
Mission Quiz: Where were you in '62?
3-D models of crafts from Glenns past, present missions

Walter Cronkite To Cover Oct. 29 Launch, Nov. 7 Landing
John Glenn Rides Again
Glenn's Launch Eagerly Anticipated

The Ohio Astronauts
Minute-By-Minute Story of the Flight
Space is at the Frontier of My Profession
Glenn hometown down-to-earth on return to space

Hometown watches, wonders about Glenn space return
Glenn's Senate career closes, space looms
Story Musgrave says John Glenn not working hard enough

Senator John Glenn's Homepage
John Glenn's NASA Biography
John Glenn -- From Mercury to Space Shuttle
John Glenn Related Web Sites

Project Mercury Home Page (NASA)
The Mercury Seven: Where Are They Now?
Mercury Seven now only four, but the spirit lives on

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