PORTLAND, Ore. – The United States lost one of its heroes today, former NASA astronaut, engineer, aviator, and Senator from Ohio, John Glenn, died at the age of 95.
Glenn had fallen ill in the last couple of days and had been at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center surrounded by family and friends when he passed away. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, his children, and Grand Children.
Portland Oregon Connection
After he made history with NASA in 1962 when he flew Friendship 7 around the earth, Glenn got involved in politics and campaigned for Robert F. Kennedy in Portland Oregon during May of 1968, and as seen in the video below, Glenn ice skated at Portland’s Lloyd Center Ice Rink with Robert F. Kennedy and his wife Ethel.
John Glenn eventually ran for the Ohio State Senate seat in 1974 and served until 1999 when he retired from the senate, but that didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dream of going back into space, and he became the oldest human to fly in space at the age of 77.
Little Known Facts About John Glenn
Although he’s most famous for his time that he spent with NASA, John Glenn was already a well-known fighter pilot who had flown 59 missions during WW2 and many of those missions were with his co-pilot, baseball legend Ted Williams.
Glenn was the first American citizen to circle the Earth, and he actually did so 3 times. Upon his return to earth his desire was to go back up into space as soon as possible but President John F. Kennedy secretly kept NASA from sending Glenn back up because he feared that John Glenn would be killed and an American hero would be lost.
When John Glenn eventually returned to space he did so as a space pioneer, and he was able to reignite national attention on NASA after interest in the space program had been waning in the years since the Challenger explosion in 1986.
Thanks to the efforts of astronauts like John Glenn the space program is something that everyone knows about today and with the efforts of private companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic there’s hope that humans may one day go back to the Moon and even to Mars in the years to come.