John Glenn Returns To Space
Almost four decades after he became the first American to orbit the Earth, John Hershel Glenn, Jr., at age 77, is launched into space again as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Glenn is the oldest human ever to travel in space. During the nine-day mission, he served as part of a NASA study on health problems associated with aging.
Glenn, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the seven men chosen by NASA in 1959 to become America’s first astronauts. He is a decorated pilot, flying nearly 150 combat missions during World War II and the Korean War. In 1957, he made the first nonstop supersonic flight across the United States, flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes.
On February 20, 1962, Colonel John Glenn’s spacecraft, Friendship 7, made three orbits of the Earth in five hours. Glenn was hailed as a national hero, and on February 23 President John F. Kennedy visited him at Cape Canaveral. Glenn was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
In 1998, Glenn attracted considerable media attention when he returned to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. In 1999, he retired from his U.S. Senate seat after four consecutive terms in office, a record for the state of Ohio.
“You know, old folks can have dreams, too, as well as young folks, and then work toward them. And to have a dream like this come true for me is just a terrific experience.” ~ John Glenn