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CHIPS Articles: DoD Remembers Space Pioneer, Marine Corps Pilot John Glenn

DoD Remembers Space Pioneer, Marine Corps Pilot John Glenn
By DoD Armed with Science Blog - December 12, 2016
John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, died Dec. 8. The legendary astronaut, U.S. senator and Marine Corps pilot was 95.

Glenn had been hospitalized last month at the James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University for an undisclosed illness.

Glenn was a decorated fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. He was one of the Mercury Seven military test pilots chosen to become NASA’s first astronauts.

The space pioneer orbited the Earth three times, including his flight on Friendship 7 on Feb. 20, 1962. That mission quickly made him a national hero when he was forced to fly the capsule manually after the automatic system failed.

“I went to manual control and continued in that mode during the second and third orbits, and during re-entry,” Glenn recalled later, according to NASA.

“The malfunction just forced me to prove very rapidly what had been planned over a longer period of time,” Glenn added.

Glenn continued to serve his country as a four-term U.S. senator from Ohio. He launched a failed attempt for the presidency in 1984.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called Glenn a role model.

“Glenn’s extraordinary courage, intellect, patriotism and humanity were the hallmarks of a life of greatness,” Bolden said in a statement. “His missions have helped make possible everything our space program has since achieved and the human missions to an asteroid and Mars that we are striving toward now.”

Other tributes to Glenn came flooding in on social media following the news of his passing, including messages from President Barack Obama and NASA.

John Glenn NASA photo
John Glenn NASA photo

John Glenn's official portrait as one of NASA's original seven Mercury astronauts.  NASA photo
John Glenn's official portrait as one of NASA's original seven Mercury astronauts. NASA photo

John Glenn climbs into his Friendship 7 capsule for his historic flight on Feb. 20, 1962.
John Glenn climbs into his Friendship 7 capsule for his historic flight on Feb. 20, 1962.

NASA tweet, "Godspeed, John Glenn 1921-2016"
NASA tweet, "Godspeed, John Glenn 1921-2016"

USMC tweet, "The Corps lost a legend today. Col. John Glenn -- an astronaut, a senator, a Marine -- died at the age of 95. Semper Fi, Sir."
USMC tweet, "The Corps lost a legend today. Col. John Glenn -- an astronaut, a senator, a Marine -- died at the age of 95. Semper Fi, Sir."
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