Famed astronaut and former US Senator John Glenn has died at the age of 95, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Glenn had been hospitalized for the past week at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Glenn is known for his February 1962 Friendship 7 mission, during which he became the first American to orbit the Earth. Four other people had been to space before him, two of which were Americans who had already performed suborbital flights. But there’s something to be said about going orbital. It requires a whole lot more speed and thrust to get into an orbit around Earth. His trip effectively paved the way for human exploration of space for the following decades.
Glenn’s passing marks the end of an era: he was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven group that included pioneering figures such as Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. Glenn, along with the rest of his astronaut class, helped shape the path that America took to the Moon.
Born on July 18th, 1921 in Columbus, Ohio, Glenn served in the Marines during the Second World War, flying with Marine Fighter Squadron 155 over the Marshall Islands, taking part in 59 combat missions. He later served in the Korean War. Upon his return, he attended the Test Pilot School at the Naval air Test Center in Maryland.