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article imageAstronaut John Glenn dies aged 95

By Tim Sandle     Dec 8, 2016 in Science
Former astronaut John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit Earth, has died aged 95. Glenn also served as a marine and U.S. senator.
According to the BBC, John Glenn had been ill for several weeks and was staying in hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Glenn passed away surrounded by his children and wife of 73 years. His death was announced on Twitter by Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. Kasich said: "Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots. Godspeed, John Glenn!" While the cause of death has not been stated Glenn was a patient in a specialist cancer unit.
John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born in 1921. He worked as aviator, engineer and astronaut before serving as a senator for the state of Ohio. Glenn was one of the "Mercury Seven", an elite group of marine corps military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become the first astronauts. On February 20, 1962 Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and so became the first U.S. citizen to orbit the Earth (as well as being, at the time, only the fifth person in space). Later Glenn was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978 for his services to the U.S. space effort.
One controversial point in Glenn's career was when, still working for NASA, testified before the House Space Committee in 1962, coming out in favor of excluding women from the NASA astronaut program.
In 1964 Glenn quit NASA and began his political career, winning his seat in 1974 for the Democratic Party. Glenn served until 1999 (during this time he launched a short-lived bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984). As a senator, Glenn was the chief author of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978. Another notable achievement was when, remarkably, on October 29, 1998 and while still a sitting senator, Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space.
After retiring from the senate, Glenn worked with college students at Ohio State University in Columbus, helping to enthuse younger people about the space exploration.
Details for the funeral and any commemorative service are yet to be announced, although Glenn is expected to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
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