John H. Glenn

1962                                           1998

Born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio
Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Muskingum College
USMC WWII and Korean War Veteran
U.S. Senator, Ohio

In 1962, John Glenn made history as the first American to orbit the Earth. Thirty years later, he made history again by becoming the oldest man to fly in space - He still has the "Right Stuff"!

About the Man:

John Glenn was an honor student in high school and a star player in football, basketball, and tennis, before graduating in 1939. At one point in his early years, an epidemic of scarlet fever restricted him from going outside. Glenn kept himself occupied by building model airplanes out of wood. When the models crashed, he repaired them and flew them again.

Glenn learned to fly in a Navy Program for civilians in New Philadelphia, Ohio, while attending Muskingum College. After three years of college, he left to join the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He became a naval aviator in March of 1943. John served in both WWII and the Korean War.

In the book, Moon Shot 1994, written by former astronauts, the late Alan Shepard and the late Deke Slayton, referred to the type of pilot John Glenn had been. They mentioned that during the war, mechanics often declared Glenn's aircraft unfit to fly, because he brought them back in such bad shape. The remarkable thing was that he returned the planes without injury to himself.

After the Korean War, Glenn became a test pilot.Later, while assigned to the Fighter Design Branch of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, John Glenn gained experience in the design of new planes and equipment.

On July 16, 1957, he set a transcontinental speed record in a supersonic jet. He traveled from New York to Los Angeles in three hours and twenty-three minutes, in an F8U jet aircraft.

About the Spaceflights

Mercury 6 (Friendship)

February 20, 1962

Mercury 6 lifted off into space at 9:47 a.m.The spacecraft went into a low orbit using the craft's guidance systems. NASA devised the systems to keep the spacecraft in an upright position. There were tracking stations located around the world that monitored Glenn's flight. One tracking station over Mexico picked up a signal that showed the spacecraft swinging to the right.

Due to a malfunction in the system, Glenn had to control the spacecraft manually to maintain the proper attitude, or position. He gained control of the craft, and of the situation, with the cleverness and agility only an experienced pilot of John Glenn's stature could have done.

Glenn crossed the Atlantic Ocean, flew over Africa, across the Indian Ocean, and over Australia. He flew over the Pacific Ocean, over the West Coast of the United States, and back over Florida. Each complete orbit took one and one-half hours.

Mercury/Friendship-6 splashed down at 2:43 p.m.

Flight Duration: Four hours, Fifty-five minutes, and Twenty-three seconds, 3 orbits.

Space Saga Video - John Glenn Circles the Globe

Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95)

STS-95 liftoff
October 29, 1998

John Glenn made history once again, at the age of 77. He returned to space as a payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) on October 29, 1998, 2:19 p.m. He held the distinction of being the oldest person to ever travel into space. Glenn took part in experiments intended to help scientists better understand the effects of aging. These experiments will help astronauts in the future prepare for long-duration space flights planned to Mars and beyond.

Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95) landed on November 7, 1998, at 12:04 p.m.

Click on the patches to read about John Glenn's historic spaceflights
in more detail at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Website.

  STS-95 patch

Also check out John Glenn Returns to Space

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Go on to read about:

NASA's Second Group of Astronauts
A Second Group is Chosen

NASA's Third Group of Astronauts
Another Group is Needed

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