John Glenn was the first
American to orbit Earth and third person to orbit the Earth.
John Glenn orbited the Earth in Friendship 7 in 1962. In 1998,
he became the oldest person ever to fly in space in the
He is a former United States
Marine Corps pilot, astronaut and United States senator. John Glenn
was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury
program as a member of NASA's original astronaut group. After
retiring from NASA, he entered politics as a Democrat and
represented Ohio in the United States Senate from 1974 to 1999.
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. was
born July 18, 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio, USA. Glenn served in the
Marine Corps during World War II and latter in Korea. In 1954 he
started work as a test pilot and in 1957 made the first non-stop
supersonic flight from Los Angeles to New York. In 1959, he was
selected for astronaut training and was back-up pill for the
first two Mercury missions.
During his Mercury 6 flight, he
became the third American in space and the
first person to orbit
Earth. After retiring from the space program in 1964, Glenn took
up politics and in 1974 was elected Senator in Ohio. In 1988, he
became the world's oldest astronaut at age 77 when he flew on a
Space Shuttle mission.
John Herschel Glenn Jr. in
Friendship 7 (his Mercury 6 capsule) became the first American to orbit the Earth in
1962. Friendship 7 was launched atop an Atlas rocket on
February 20,1962. Glenn made history that day. His flight took
him on three orbits of Earth in less than 5 hours.
America's first spaceman, Alan Shepard had performed only
a sub-orbital lob in May 1961, after Yuri Gagarin had completed
a complete orbit on the first manned spaceflight that April.
After Gus Grissom completed another hop out of the atmosphere,
the US was eager to show that it too could place a man into a
controlled orbit and deliver him safely home. The man they
chose, 40 years old John Herschel Glenn Jr, had been
disappointed not to the the first American in space , but the
clear choice for more technically challenging flight of
Friendship 7 as he was the star performer of the Mercury
Programme's PR campaign.
The flight of Friendship 7 was
delayed several times. The original launch date was 27 January,
but this was re-scheduled 13 minutes before launch to 13 February
due to adverse weather conditions at the Cape Canaveral launch
site. During the delay, improvements were made to Glenn's flight
capsule and a minor leak was fixed. Further weather related
delayed occurred, delaying the eventual flight to 20 February.
The launch itself experience a
brief postponement when a bolt on the door hatch broke but the
main engines were ignite at 14.45 UT. Friendship 7 completed
there orbits, spending 4 hours 48 minutes in space. Glenn
attained a speed of over 7.84 km/second, experiencing a maximum
acceleration at launch of 7.7G.
John Glenn took
the first photographs of the Earth from space during the third
Mercury manned mission.
Friendship 7 splashed down in
the Atlantic 1,300km southeast of Bermuda. Its parachutes were
spotted at an altitude of 1,500 metros and a range of 9km by the
crew of the US destroyer Noa and Glenn was lucked from the ocean
twenty minutes later. During the flight an attitude nozzle had
become clogged requiring to right the craft manually. On
re-entry ground control became alarmed when malfunctioning
warning light indicated that Friendship 7's heat-shied had been
prematurely jettisoned, possible condemning the craft and its
pilot to a ferry death in the upper atmosphere. The outer
covering was retained in safe and Glenn could see burning
fragments of this flying past his porthole on re-entry. Glenn
became an instant celebrity and enjoyed a subsequent career in
business became an organic Presbyterian elder and latter a US
congressman for his home state of Ohio. He even tried to secure
the Democratic nomination for the 1984 US presidential election.
In October 1998, 36 years after his fittest space flight he
became at 77, the oldest man ever to fly in space, this time
aboard the Space shuttle Discovery.
John Glenn received a Congressional
Space Medal of Honor in 1978 and was inducted into the Astronaut
Hall of Fame in 1990. On October 29, 1998, he became the oldest
person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the
Mercury and Space Shuttle programs, when at age 77, he flew on
* Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space.
* Gherman Titov
was the second to orbit the Earth
* On March 1, 1999,
the Lewis Research Center was officially renamed the NASA John
H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field after John Glenn
(American fighter pilot, astronaut and politician). Within NASA,
Glenn is often referred to by the acronym GRC.
Related Books and DVDs:
John Glenn: A Memoir by John Glenn (Author), Nick Taylor
America In Space: NASA's First
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