Around the World in Five Hours: John Glenn

On February 20th, 1962, John Glenn lifted off from a launch pad at Cape Canaveral where he would eventually become the first American to orbit the earth. During this time in history, the Cold War was pushing global superpowers like the Soviet Union and the United States to see who could be the first country to make advancements in technology, travel to space, and so on. Read on to see how Glenn made world history and continued to put America on the map. 

A Qualified Astronaut

Back in 1958, John Glenn was put to a series of tests designed to select the first qualified group of astronauts for the NASA Manned Space Program, a newly launched entity.

Candidates must be physically fit, test pilot school graduates, younger than forty years old, shorter than five feet eleven inches, have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and have at least 1,500 hours of flying time. John Glenn met all the prerequisites.   

Off Into Space

After being selected, Glenn trained for three years before he launched into space aboard the Friendship 7. In less than five hours and despite several complications while in space, Glenn successfully orbited the world three times.

John Glenn became a national hero and President John Kennedy awarded him the Space Congressional Medal of Honor.  

He later went on to new feats like entering politics and joined the U.S Senate. But by 1998, everything came full circle when Glenn became the oldest person to travel to space at 77 years old. Now streets and places are named after him across the country. 

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