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John Glenn Friendship 7 Day on February 20

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history; and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

John Glenn (1921 - 2016) and NASA technicians look at the  artwork to be painted on his Mercury capsule.

John Glenn (1921 - 2016) and NASA technicians look at the artwork to be painted on his Mercury capsule.

A Famous Nonogenarian's Golden Anniversary

The Honorable John H. Glenn Jr., retired US Senator and Mercury 7 Astronaut was born in Cambridge, Ohio in an area famous for its Y Bridge.

At 95 years of age in 2016, John Glenn outlived many of his Cambridge neighbors. Columbus is fortunate that he came here for his retirement years. This actual semi-retirement, because Senator Glenn maintains an office and is active in speaking on college campuses and advocating for an American future in space.

February 20, 2012 was the 50th Anniversary of Colonel John Glenn's and America's First Manned Orbit of three turns around Earth.

Prior to launch,he sat in the small space inside his NASA capsule, atop an Atlas rocket that was rebuilt from a missile.

Active in the Pacific Theater of WWII and later a US Senator for 24 years, John Glenn rode around the moon in 1962. To honor this feat permanently, Ohio's Governor John Kasich signed into law the designation of February 20 as John Glenn Friendship 7 Day.

The Mercury Project Astronauts each named his own capsule and Glenn chose Friendship 7.

Senator and retired astronaut John Glenn taught at The Ohio State University at age 95.

John Glenn Friendship 7 Day Commemorative Stamp

Postage stamp released on February 20, 1992 in honor of John Glenn and the Friendship 7 orbit.

Postage stamp released on February 20, 1992 in honor of John Glenn and the Friendship 7 orbit.

Project Mercury Human Flight Program

Unmanned missions explored the possibility of human survival in Earth Orbit.

The unmanned flights were followed by Ham the Chimpanzee, who completed his own successful Mercury mission.

The astronauts who followed named their own capsules:

Project Mercury Space Capsules, May 1961 - May 1963

AstronautCapsule NameNumber of Earth Orbits

Allan Shepherd

Freedom 7

subborital

Gus Grissom

Liberty Bell 7

suborbital

John H. Glenn

Friendship 7

3

Scott Carpenter

Aurora 7

3

Wally Shirra

Sigma 7

6

Gordon Cooper

Faith 7

22

Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton did not fly until 1975, in a joint US - Soviet mission. He had named his Mercury capsule Delta 7, but was grounded for an irregular heartbeat.

John Glenn's "Weirdest" Training

Second Space Adventure

Senator Glenn is happy to have been able to "go up" again when he was 77 in 1998. Having been discouraged - tantamount to being barred - from further space exploration by President John F. Kennedy in order to preserve Glenn as a national treasure and asset, the former astronaut was thrilled to go into space again.

Glenn would have liked to have been on Apollo 11. JFK had suggested that Glenn run for public office instead of continuing in space exploration and after a first attempt interrupted by an small accident and concussion, Glenn finally became Ohio's senior US Senator for 24 years ending in1999.

Living in Columbus OH, Senator Glenn arranged a speech at the Ohio State University on the 50th Anniversary date of his orbit, with special speaker Captain Mark Kelly, the final Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s in July 2011.

The ground floor of one of the newer buildings on the OSU campus is dedicated expressly to his space-going years and is open for visits during normal weekday business hours. It's the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

In addition, we have enjoyed an exhibit about Glenn's Friendship 7 orbit at OSU's lavishly remodeled Thompson Library. We also maintain the John Glenn Congressional Archives, which are open to the public. you can see over 2,000 cubic feet of documents there.

Feb. 20, 1962: At Mission Control, Friendship 7 leaves Eastern Australia on the NASA World Map.

Feb. 20, 1962: At Mission Control, Friendship 7 leaves Eastern Australia on the NASA World Map.

John Glenn Sites

The John & Annie Glenn Historic Site: 72 W. Main Street in New Concord, Ohio 43762. This is near Cambridge. In July, 2009, the John & Annie Glenn Museum Foundation began managing the National Road and Zane Grey Museum for the Ohio Historical Society as well. johnglennhome.org/

John Glenn Story, 1963: 29 min.

Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. in his silver Mercury pressure suit , January 1962.

Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. in his silver Mercury pressure suit , January 1962.

Cape Canaveral, Florida

Remembering Absent Friends

On February 17, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, the surviving former astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter from Project Mercury met in celebration with over 100 people that retired from their space project. On the Friday before, they gave a press conference and spoke not only of the Mission to Mars, but of future exploration for scientific research purposes.

Also on Friday, the two surviving Mercury astronauts recognized their friends and astronaut coworkers that have died. They spoke of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton. Carpenter and Glenn would have liked to have seen 5 empty chairs on the dais to represent those men.

Sadly, Grissom was lost on the ground with Roger Chaffee and Ed White in a capsule simulation when the door was locked from the outside and the capsule interior placed under high-pressure pure oxygen. A fire erupted in the pure oxygen atmosphere of a pressure too high to enable opening the hatch.

The Mercury 7 Astronauts pose with a model Atlas rocket 7/12/1962. Front Row, left to right: Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Deke Slayton and Gordon Cooper. Back Row: Alan Shepard, Wally Schirra and John Glenn.

The Mercury 7 Astronauts pose with a model Atlas rocket 7/12/1962. Front Row, left to right: Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Deke Slayton and Gordon Cooper. Back Row: Alan Shepard, Wally Schirra and John Glenn.

NASA Future Forum at OSU

(Watch the event archived at the NASA link offered below.)

The Ohio State University; February 20 - 21, 2012

Theater in the remodeled Ohio Student Union

Panels and Speakers included

  • The Honorable Senator (retired) and former Astronaut John Glenn
  • Astronaut Leland Melvin, NASA Associate Administrator for Education
  • Dr. Mason Peck, Chief Technologist, NASA Headquarters
  • Dr. Fayette Collier, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Dr. Roger Launius, Senior Curator, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum
  • Mr. George Whitesides, CEO and President, Virgin Galactic
  • The Honorable Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
  • The Honorable Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator
  • Dr. John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate

Watch Online

  • Streamed live online at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html
STS-95: Discovery 7. Senator John H. Glenn's return to space in 1998.

STS-95: Discovery 7. Senator John H. Glenn's return to space in 1998.

Discovery 7

Seated in the photo above, left to right: Steven W. Lindsey, pilot; Curtis L. Brown Jr., mission commander. Standing, left to right: Scott F. Parazynski and Stephen K. Robinson, mission specialists; Chiaki Mukai, payload specialist for Japan; Pedro Duque, mission specialist for the European Space Agency (ESA); and US Senator John H. Glenn Jr., payload specialist.

On Day 5 of the 9-day mission, Moon River by Andy Williams was the wake-up song played for John Glenn and for Day 9, Voyage Into Space by Peter Nero was played for the Senator. Just as in 1962, the residents and officials of Rockingham and Perth in Australia left lights burning for Glenn to see from his spacecraft.

Discovery 7 was extraordinary and a favorite of the American public. STS-95 mission payloads included 1) microgravity material science, 2) medical research for humans on Earth and in space, and 3) astronomy. These studies and the presence of the first Spanish person in space, John Glenn's participation, and the beginning of HDTV broadcasting with the mission launch with Walter Conrad and former astronaut Pete Conrad announcing brought the seven astronauts on the mission the Douglas Murrow Public Outreach Award of the Science Foundation the following year.

Some of John Glenn's Awards

Holidays

  • John Glenn Friendship 7 Day in Ohio - February 20, beginning 2012

Civilian Awards

  • Congressional Gold Medal
  • Congressional Space Medal of Honor
  • Douglas Murrow Public Outreach Award of the Science Foundation
  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal
  • The Woodrow Wilson Award
  • Thomas D. White National Defense Award

Military Awards: US Navy and US Marine Corps

  • Air Medal with three Silver Stars and two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star
  • China Service Medal
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars and two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Navy Occupation Service Medal
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Presidential Unit Citations - United State and Korean Service
  • United Nations Korea Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal - United States

Our Ohio Astronauts

Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. -- Fourth from right, bottom row.

Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. -- Fourth from right, bottom row.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS

Comments

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 18, 2012:

I really am fortunate to live nearby John Glenn's office!

Joan Whetzel on February 18, 2012:

Living in the Houston area, it's easy to get hooked on anything space related. Thanks for this interesting piece of space history.

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