John Glenn, first American astronaut to orbit Earth and U.S. senator, dies at 95

Ohio Governor John Kasich announced Thursday that the first American to orbit the Earth, John Glenn, had died. At 95 years old, he was being treated at Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital in his home state. Glenn circled the planet in 1962, later becoming a U.S. senator representing Ohio.

His group of “Mercury Seven” Marine test pilots was chosen by NASA to become the nation’s first astronauts, and Glenn became the fifth person ever in space. When he saw the Earth from 100 miles up for the first time, Glenn famously remarked, “Oh, that view is tremendous!” He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. Then, in 1998, he went into space again, becoming the oldest person to ever fly in space. Because he already had a long history at NASA, he was able to help scientists study what being in space does to old people.

Before becoming an astronaut, Glenn dropped out of college to serve in the Korean War. He became a Marine pilot and trained upcoming pilots, all which led to his career as a famous astronaut.

Glenn also served as a Democratic senator for about 25 years and was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. He later working with college students at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Author Tom Wolfe called Glenn “the last true national hero America has ever made.”

Tags: john glenn