Jul 19, 2017
John Herschel Glenn Jr. (July 18,1921 – December 8, 2016) was a United States Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and Korea with six Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen Air Medals.
He was one of the Mercury Seven, military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA as the United States' first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission; the first American to orbit the Earth, he was the fifth person in space. He received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990, and was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.
After Glenn resigned from NASA in 1964 and retired from the Marine Corps the following year, he planned to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. An injury in early 1964 forced his withdrawal, and he lost a close primary election in 1970. A member of the Democratic Party, Glenn first won election to the Senate in 1974 and served for 24 years until January 3, 1999.