Yesterday, we learned the tragic news that John Glenn – the first American to orbit Earth – had died at the age of 95.
But his was a life to celebrate, a pioneer in the early days of space exploration. Glenn was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven, who flew NASA’s earliest manned missions. In 1998, he also became the oldest person to go to space, and even became a US Senator.
"With John's passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend," President Obama said in a statement. "John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars."
Here, we take a look at some of the amazing moments in Glenn’s life.
The Mercury Seven astronauts, pictured on April 9, 1959. Front row, left to right: Wally Schirra, Deke Slayton, John Glenn, and Scott Carpenter; back row, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, and Gordon Cooper. NASA
A famous image of the Mercury Seven astronauts during wilderness training in 1960. Glenn is third from left. NASA
John Glenn inspects artwork on his spacecraft, Freindship 7, on February 2, 1962. NASA
Glenn enters his spacecraft on launch day, February 20, 1962. NASA
Lift-off of Frienship 7 on February 20, 1962, with Glenn on board. The flight lasted almost five hours and completed three orbits of Earth, making Glenn the first American to orbit the planet. NASA
Glenn, pictured inside the Friendship 7 capsule during the flight. NASA
Picture of Earth taken by Glenn during his flight. NASA
Glenn (center) with John F Kennedy (left) and General Leighton Davis (right) in 1962, celebrating his successful flight. NASA
Glenn became the US Senator for Ohio in 1974, remaining in office until 1995. NASA/Bill Ingalls
In 1998, Senator-astronaut Glenn became the oldest person to go to space, at the age of 77, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission. NASA
Glenn received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama in May 2012. NASA/Bill Ingalls