On Feb. 20, 1962, Lieutenant Colonel Glenn, United States Marine Corps, lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 9:47 a.m. in a small Mercury capsule to become the first American to orbit the earth.
In 1974, Glenn was elected into the U.S. Senate for the state of Ohio and served for 24 years.
On Oct. 29, 1998, Glenn returned to space as a Payload Specialist 2 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest person to fly to space.
His accomplishments also include serving as a military fighter pilot. During WWII, Glenn flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific in an F4U Corsair.
In Korea, he flew 63 missions with Marine Fighter Squadron 311, (along with baseball legend Ted Williams) in F9F Panthers. In the last nine days of fighting in Korea, Glenn piloted an F-86 Sabre and downed three MIG’s in combat along the Yalu River.
In July 1957, while project officer of the F8U Crusader, he set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York, spanning the country in three hours and 23 minutes. This was the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed.
Glenn has logged more than 218 hours in space and nearly 9,000 hours of flying time, with approximately 3,000 hours in jet aircraft.