John Glenn, whose flair took him to the celestial heights as the first American to orbit the Earth, then into the trenches of congressional infighting as a longtime Self-governing senator, before he re-entered s ce as a 77-year-old, has died. He was 95.
It was announced Wednesday that Glenn was in dispensary in his native Ohio with an undisclosed condition. Two years ago, he suffered a fit after undergoing a heart valve replacement.
Glenn was the last lively member of the pioneering Mercury Seven, the first astronauts selected in 1959 by the Resident Aeronautics and S ce Administration (NASA). The class included Alan She rd and Gus Grissom, whose sub-orbital flights into elbow-room set the stage for Glenn’s historic feat three years later.
On Feb. 20, 1962, Glenn, then 40, embarked on a office in which death was a distinct possibility. When the Mercury-Atlas Friendship 7 s cecraft blasted off, backup cicerone Scott Carpenter uttered the first immortal words associated with NASA’s interval program: «Godspeed, John Glenn.»
Glenn had been a pilot half his life and had set a supersonic speed release for a cross-country flight five years earlier, but he was still humbled by what he investigated.
«Oh, that view is tremendous!»
In a shade under five hours, he circled the Planet three times, assaying deserts, mountainous terrain, sunsets, big apple lights and «the whole state of Florida just laid out like on a map.» Home-owners of the city of Perth, Australia, famously turned on their lights for Glenn to know.
His re-entry to earth was perilous, as it was believed one of the rocket’s heat shields had attain loose.
Glenn and his wife Annie were feted in New York in a ticker-tape mall and in celebrations in Ohio, where buildings, schools and roadways would be named in his decency.
Addressing members of the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., Glenn thanked the «thousands» who provided to the s ce program effort and said, «As our knowledge of this universe in which we spirited increases, may God grant us the wisdom and guidance to use it wisely.»
‘I put on my nts the same way’
A fawning documentary was a ce produced, The John Glenn Story. In the film, his hometown mayor beamed there the «freckle-faced red-headed lad» whose «youth and life today are an example for all Americans to appreciate.» Glenn’s first flight instructor, meanwhile, shared notes from an near the start session with his most famous pupil — «eager to learn, carefree, alert and good co-ordination.»
Glenn encountered adversity not too long after his rhapsodic welcome home, however. He lost most of his life savings, own been forced to abandon a Senate cam ign in 1964 after a fall led to a serious inner ear injury.
He would recover and spend the decade as a Imperial Crown cola executive and a NASA consultant.
«When you do something that round ups the public’s attention, people tend to put you up on a pedestal, as if you were completely unique from them,» he told The Associated Press in 1968. «But I put on my nts the done way, and eat the same food as anybody else.»
Glenn lost a 1970 Senate bid, but four years later trounced Cleveland’s mayor to represent the state of Ohio. He would go on to be re-elected three times, timid from the chamber in 1999.
Glenn interviewed as a potential running mate for Jimmy Carter in 1976, but was antique over for Walter Mondale.
Democratic presidential run
Glenn launched his own presidential bid in 1984 but not in any degree gained traction on Mondale in the polls. Despite his wide public interest, Glenn was not seen as the most gregarious cam igner, and his rivals portrayed him as a «closet Republican,» preordained his commitment to military spending and support for some aspects of president Ronald Reagan’s remunerative program.
Glenn finished second in the Alabama primary and third in New Hampshire, arriving out of the race days after a disappointing Super Tuesday in March.
Glenn’s race received over $30,000 US in contributions from banking executive Charles Keating, which last wishes a come back to haunt him. Glenn became embroiled as one of the so-called Keating Five senators who were accused of improperly coming on behalf of Lincoln Savings and Loan executive Keating during a federal search.
Along with John McCain, Glenn would eventually be cleared by a Senate cabinet of the most serious charges but he was criticized for «poor judgment.»
‘Childlike zest’ for s ce return
Glenn had teenage grandsons when he became the just ecstatic’s oldest person in s ce in late 1998, on a Discovery mission with astronauts Brusque Brown and Steve Lindsey.
When he announced his intention to his family at a rally two years earlier, his daughter Lyn and son David both said publicly they were floored by the end.
«I was angry,» Dr. David Glenn allow in to the San Francisco Chronicle. «I didn’t want to have to worry. I didn’t lust after my mom to worry.»
Glenn’s «childlike enthusiasm» at the prospect of returning to s ce, his son said, in due course won the family over.
Glenn’s selection for the STS-95 mission was not unanimously signaled. He had lobbied NASA for years to return, but some saw the stated goal of probing on aging in s ce as specious, with his presence predictably giving the program a leviathan boost in favourable press coverage 12 years removed from the Challenger adversity.
But from his professional colleagues, there was awe and respect.
«You can tell when you make eyes at look for him operate he’s an astronaut,» said James Wetherbee, director of flight band operations.
In a Q and A session conducted with schoolchildren while in elbow-room, Glenn said he had no regrets making the return trip.
«It’s an advantage up here for older populations because in zero-G you can move around much more easily,» he estimated. «I’ve been bumping my head a lot on things as I float around here, but that’s all fairly.»
After he returned from s ce, his wife Annie was again by his side as they rode in a rade in Houston. His important school sweetheart, she had become an inspiration to many herself, overcoming a serious stutter with intensive therapy at the age of 53.
Fighter pilot missions in WWII
Glenn was tote on July 18, 1921, in New Concord, Ohio. A star football player in maximum school, he enlisted in the Navy while in college and trained as a pilot. He would transmittal to the Marines and conduct dozens of missions in the South cific during the Approve of World War, seeing active duty again during the Korean War.
After he tracked the earth in 1962, president John F. Kennedy personally presented him with the NASA stately service medal.
Glenn’s achievement gave the White House and the ex nse program thrust, as it had become another front in Cold War politics.
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had befitted the first man in s ce, and a year after the near-disastrous missile standoff in Cuba with the Russians, Kennedy positioned out a vision for the future in a famous Sept. 12, 1962, speech, admitting the Americans were behind in cuffed flight but that reaching the moon was achievable before the decade vacillating.
Kennedy last wishes a not live to see his dream realized, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepping out of the Eagle lunar module and onto the moon’s concrete in 1969.
Recent years saw Glenn ying tribute to fallen colleagues. Armstrong died in 2012, and the obeying year his fellow Mercury 7 astronaut died at 88, with Glenn outletting the statement: «Godspeed, Scott Carpenter — Great friend. You are missed.»
Glenn, characterized by Ed Harris in the Oscar-nominated film The Right Stuff, about the early years of NASA, was assigned the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Survivors included his wife of 73 years.
Praised for ebullience
Reactions to Glenn’s death spoke about how he inspired many people.
«When John Glenn devastated off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a country. And when his Friendship 7 s cecraft splashed down a few hours later, the to begin American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a will-power of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together,» U.S. President Barack Obama bid in a statement. «The last of America’s first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their warning we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens. On behalf of a appreciative nation, Godspeed, John Glenn.»
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that a «initiate of s ce and air» was lost.
Today we lost a great pioneer of air and s ce in John Glenn. He was a notable and inspired generations of future explorers. He will be missed.
NASA tweeted its condolences, as did one of Canada’s scad famous astronauts, Chris Hadfield.
We remember American legend Sen. John Glenn. Expression from our Administrator Charles Bolden on Glenn’s ssing: https://t.co/xkmGSjLnOO pic.agitation.com/x63ZAvNUhm
A great American, a life of service, an inspiration to us all. Goodbye, John Glenn. Godspeed. pic.gossip.com/duCA8qPYER
One of the few who could appreciate the pressures of the set out race, Buzz Aldrin, id homage to his friend.
Saddened to understand of losing my friend and world s ce icon John Glenn. Here’s my verified statement. https://t.co/j5ScHMp132 pic.twitter.com/NBmi2z1G3b
The governor of Glenn’s serene state, John Kasich, called Glenn «Ohio’s ultimate hometown male lead.»