This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

John Glenn Returns To Space

glennthen-now October 29, 1998: 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.

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John Glenn poses in the cockpit of his

John Glenn poses in the cockpit of his “MiG Mad Marine” F-86 Sabre

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.

Astronaut John Glenn relaxes aboard the USS Noa after being recovered from the Atlantic near Grand Turk Island after his historic Mercury flight

Astronaut John Glenn relaxes aboard the USS Noa after being recovered from the Atlantic near Grand Turk Island after his historic Mercury flight

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.

glenn-kennedyjIn 1974 he won the general election for the Ohio Senate, and went on to win reelection three times. In 1984, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president.

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.

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“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

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