It wasn’t until April of 1959 that Glenn was assigned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (better known as NASA). He was to become a part of the original group of astronauts associated with the “Mercury Project.” At the time, he was still an officer in the Marine Corps.
Other highlights in Glenn’s career includes:
1. He became the third American to enter space and the first to orbit the Earth, while he was aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. This was known as the “Mercury Atlas 6” mission, where he circled the globe three times in a flight that lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.
2. Because of the role he played while at NASA, he was viewed as a national hero. His achievements were rewarded with a ticker-tape parade that brought back memories of Lindbergh.
3. The political family (the Kennedys) became a personal friend to Glenn. He was also known for his political gift giving.
4. Six weeks after President John F Kennedy was assassinated, Glenn decided to resign from NASA and wished to run for office in his home state of Ohio.
5. As a retired colonel, Glenn walked away from USMC and decided to take a stab at running a business, becoming an executive for Royal Crown Cola.
6. Glenn earned a place within the Senate and served 24 years before he entered space once again on October 29, 1998 as part of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s STS-95 mission, which aimed to study the effects of space flight on the elderly. At the time, Glenn was 77 years old, making him the oldest person ever to travel into space. The mission lasted for nine days, but received negative comments in regards to his political affiliations. However, his flight was looked upon as valuable for the study of weightlessness. He safely returned to Earth and was given another ticker-tape parade.
7. When it comes to sending people into space as a form of tourism, Glenn was completely opposed to the idea. He was against sending Dennis Tito (the first person in the world to enter space as a ‘tourist’). Glenn told the International Space Station that his trip would amount to nothing scientifically helpful.
8. In Cleveland Ohio, the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field is named after him. He is also the inspiration for the Colonel Glenn Highway, which is situated by the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University. In his hometown of New Concord, Ohio, a high school is also named after him.