John Glenn

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The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.

John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (18 July 1921 - 8 December 2016), (Col, USMC, Ret.), was a Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States senator. He was selected as one of the "Mercury Seven" group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America's first astronauts and fly the Project Mercury spacecraft. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space, after cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov and the sub-orbital flights of Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990.


Godspeed, John Glenn. ~ Scott Carpenter
  • To me, there is no greater calling … If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I've accomplished something.
  • I don't think many people remember what life was like in those days … This was the era when the Russians were claiming superiority, and they could make a pretty good case — they put up Sputnik in '57; they had already sent men into space to orbit the earth… There was this fear that perhaps communism was the wave of the future. The astronauts, all of us, really believed we were locked in a battle of democracy versus communism, where the winner would dominate the world.
    • As quoted in "John Glenn had the stuff U.S. heroes are made of" by Howard Wilkinson, in The Cincinnati Enquirer (20 February 2002).
  • I pray every day and I think everybody should. I don't think you can be up here and look out the window as I did the first day and look out at the Earth from this vantage point. We're not so high compared to people who went to the moon and back. But to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.
    • As quoted in Roger D. Launius. 2004. Frontiers of Space Exploration. Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 181. Interview: An American hero returns to space: John Glenn and the Sts-95 Shuttle Mission News Conference on Orbit (5 November 1998).
  • Could this have just happened? . . . I can’t believe that ... Some Power put all this into orbit and keeps it there.
    • Exclaimed regarding the order in the universe. Cited in Awake! magazine (June 22, 1999).

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