John Jr Glenn

(b. 1921)

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(1921– )

US astronaut and politician. On 20 February 1962, he became the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth, doing so three times in the spacecraft Friendship 7. The flight lasted 4 hours 55 minutes. On 29 October 1998, Glenn became the oldest person in space when, at the age of 77, he embarked on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery.

Glenn was elected to the US Senate as a Democrat from Ohio in 1974; and re-elected in 1980 and 1986.

Born in Cambridge, Ohio, Glenn became a US Marine Corps pilot, flying combat missions in World War II and the Korean War (1950–3). He joined NASA in 1959 and retired in 1964, resigning from the Corps as a colonel in 1965.

Glenn unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. He left the Senate in 1999, the year NASA renamed its Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, as the John H Glenn Research Center.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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