With his passing earlier today, John Glenn is being remembered as not only the first American to orbit the Earth, but also the oldest. During his second orbit, mission control noticed a sensor was issuing a warning that Friendship 7’s heat shield and landing bag were not secure, putting the mission, and Glenn in danger.

He died on December 8, 2016. Shortly after 8 a.m. on February 20, 1962, technicians at Cape Canaveral, Florida, closed the side hatch of John Glenn’s Friendship 7, sealing the 40-year-old Marine pilot into his tiny, one-man spacecraft. READ MORE: 7 Things You May Not Know About John Glenn On October 29, 1998, John Glenn launched on his second spaceflight, 36 years after his historic 1962 flight on the Mercury Friendship 7 spacecraft. STS-95 was a Space Shuttle mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on 29 October 1998, using the orbiter Discovery.It was the 25th flight of Discovery and the 92nd mission flown since the start of the Space Shuttle program in April 1981. In 1998, John Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space when he joined the crew of Discovery on STS-95. When John Glenn boarded the shuttle orbiter Discovery, now in the Museum’s collection and displayed at our Udvar-Hazy Center, he was 77 years old—the oldest person yet to venture into space. In 1999, he retired from his U.S. Senate seat after four consecutive terms in office, a record for the state of Ohio. OVERVIEW: John Glenn will make his return to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery as a payload specialist. John Glenn, First American To Orbit The Earth, Dies At 95 : The Two-Way After a career as a Marine pilot, Glenn was chosen as an astronaut. After a series of schedule slips that winter, this would be NASA’s second attempt in less than a month to launch the first American into orbit.

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