Astronaut John Glenn Has Died and This Is Why He Was Important
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, has died, aged 95.
The former U.S. senator piloted the Mercury space capsule Friendship 7, which circled the planet three times in February 1962.
He was the last surviving member of the Project Mercury team, which also included Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, and Gordon Cooper.
Glenn resigned from the astronaut program in 1964 and turned to a career in politics, serving as a Democratic senator for Ohio between 1974 and 1999.
He returned to space in 1998 and became the oldest person to lift off at 77, when he was recruited as a specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
President-elect Donald Trump was among the first celebrities to pay tribute to Glenn on Thursday, tweeting, “Today we lost a great pioneer of air and space in John Glenn. He was a hero and inspired generations of future explorers. He will be missed.”
Today we lost a great pioneer of air and space in John Glenn. He was a hero and inspired generations of future explorers. He will be missed.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016
Other social media tributes came from the likes of Rob Lowe, Rascal Flatts, Alyssa Milano, and Tom Hanks, who wrote, “God speed, John Glenn.”
God speed, John Glenn. Hanx.
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) December 8, 2016