John Glenn

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John Glenn
John Glenn
1998 ( STS-95 )
Country: United States
Organization: NASA
selected on April 2, 1959
(1st NASA Group)
Calls: 2 space flights
Start of the
first space flight:
February 20, 1962
Landing of the
last space flight:
November 7, 1998
Time in space: 9d 2h 39min
retired on November 1998
Space flights
John Herschel Glenn (1961)

John Herschel Glenn Jr. (born July 18, 1921 in Cambridge , Ohio , † December 8, 2016 in Columbus , Ohio) was an American fighter pilot , test pilot , astronaut and politician . He was the first American to orbit the earth in a spaceship in 1962 and served as Ohio State Senator for the Democratic Party in the United States Senate from 1974 to 1999 .


Glenn was born in Ohio in 1921, the son of a railroad conductor, and attended high school until 1939, after which he studied engineering until 1942 and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1943 . In World War II and later in the Korean War , he served as a fighter pilot and remained as a test pilot with the Marines. In July 1957 he flew a Vought F8U-1P from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes , the first transcontinental flight at supersonic speed (average speed Mach 1.1), and set a new speed record with it.


John Glenn in a Space Suit (1962)
Glenn during the STS-95 mission (1998)

As one of the astronauts of the Mercury Seven , he worked for NASA from April 1959 as part of the Mercury program . For the suborbital flights of Mercury-Redstone 3 and Mercury-Redstone 4 he was available as a backup pilot and supported the astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil Grissom , whom he helped to get into the small Mercury spacecraft and carry out final tests. On February 20, 1962, he started as a pilot at the helm of an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for the Mercury Atlas 6 mission "Friendship 7". He was the first American to orbit the earth three times. The entire mission lasted four hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.

After the flight, Glenn became an American idol. President John F. Kennedy had a high profile friendship with him, but secretly ordered Glenn not to make any further space flights so as not to jeopardize the idol's life. In 1964, Glenn left NASA and became the managing director of a beverage company.


In the following years he ran several times for one of the seats in his home state Ohio in the United States Senate . In 1964 he had to withdraw his candidacy due to an accident, in 1970 he was defeated in the Democratic Party primary . In 1974 he was finally able to win the election and was re-elected with a large majority in 1980, as well as in 1986 and 1992. Glenn represented the interests of Ohio until 1999. In 1984 he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party presidential candidacy .

Another space flight

From October 29 to November 7, 1998, Glenn was again in space with the space shuttle Discovery as part of the space shuttle mission STS-95 , this time orbiting the earth 134 times. The aim was to investigate how weightlessness affects old people. At 77 he holds the record as the oldest astronaut in orbit and, at 36, the largest span between two space flights. After Scott Carpenter's death , he was the last living Mercury astronaut since October 11, 2013.

Private life

Annie and John Glenn (1965)

Glenn married Anna Margaret Castor on April 6, 1943 in New Concord (February 17, 1920 - May 19, 2020). The two had known each other since childhood. They had two children, a son (* 1945) and a daughter (* 1947). John Glenn was a member of the Freemasons' Association ( Concord Lodge # 688 New Concord , Ohio ).

Glenn was buried with military honors as a member of the United States Marine Corps in the presence of his widow and children on April 6, 2017 at Arlington National Cemetery under the command of CMC Robert B. Neller .

His widow Annie Glenn stood up for people with language difficulties and other disabilities, stuttered herself, improved her ability to speak by attending a class at the age of 53, and died in May 2020 at the age of 100 in a nursing home in Minnesota after a COVID-19 - Infection. NASA paid tribute to her: "Your courageous support from her legendary husband, John, was incomparable."

Summary of space flights

flight mission function Flight date Flight duration
1 Mercury Atlas 6 commander February 20, 1962 0d 04h 55min
2 STS-95 Payload specialist October 29 to November 7, 1998 8d 21h 43min

Special features and records

  • First transcontinental flight at supersonic speed
  • First American in orbit (Mercury Atlas 6)
  • Oldest Man in Space (STS-95)
  • Longest time period between two flights


Glenn was one of the first six astronauts to be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor on October 1, 1978 , and in 1976 he became the first astronaut to be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame . He was awarded the Ziolkowski Medal for his services to space travel . In 2012, Glenn was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama , one of the two highest civilian awards in the United States. In 2013 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

On March 1, 1999, NASA's John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field was named after him. In addition, on June 28, 2016 Port Columbus International Airport was officially named John Glenn Columbus International Airport .


See also


Web links

Commons : John Glenn  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ John Glenn, American hero, aviation icon and former US senator, dies at 95 , The Columbus Dispatch, December 8, 2016
  2. heise online: The first American who circled the earth: John Glenn is 95. In: heise online. Retrieved July 18, 2016 .
  3. Peter Maxwill: US space pioneer John Glenn - The idol that came out of the capsule , Spiegel online, February 16, 2012
  4. Kupperberg, Paul (2003). John Glenn. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8239-4460-6 . Retrieved July 24, 2009.
  5. Jon Glenn Freemason ( Memento from February 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) on the website of the Lodge St. Patrick No.468 , accessed on May 26, 2014.
  7. a b Glenn, John Herschel, Jr. astronaut. National Aviation Hall of Fame , accessed December 9, 2016 : "Enshrined 1976"
  8. The White House: President Obama Names Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients (April 26, 2012, accessed May 30, 2012)