By Frank Jennings, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland OH
The following is a statement from NASA’s Glenn Research Center Director Dr. Janet Kavandi concerning the death of retired US Marine Corps Colonel, senator and NASA astronaut John Herschel Glenn Jr. He was 95.
“On behalf of the men and women of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, I extend our deepest sympathies to Annie Glenn and the rest of the family on the passing of John Glenn Jr. The passing of Senator Glenn is a loss shared by the entire NASA community and especially those of us who work at the research center named for him.
“Senator Glenn devoted his life to serving this nation, first as a US Marine Corps aviator and combat pilot during World War II and Korea; then as a military test pilot; then as a pioneering astronaut and the first American to orbit Earth. He later went on to serve the people of Ohio as their senator and, just when you thought he could achieve no more, returned to NASA to become the oldest astronaut to fly in space.
“The patriotic example Senator Glenn set during his lifetime is one every person at this center honors and strives to emulate each and every day as we make new discoveries in the universe around us. John Glenn will remain in our hearts, forever.”
A temporary memorial has been established at Great Lakes Science Center, home of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Members of the public who wish to leave expressions of sympathy may do so beginning Friday, December 9, 2016, 10am-5pm. The memorial exhibit will be in place through Sunday, December 18, 2016. The Science Center will be closed Sunday, December 11 through Monday, December 12, 2016.
The Glenn memorial will be located in the Wintergarden atrium of the Science Center, which is publicly accessible space and does not require admission. The Science Center is located at 601 Erieside Ave., between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum and First Energy Stadium.
A separate statement was issued by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden:
“Today, the first American to orbit the Earth, NASA astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn, passed away. We mourn this tremendous loss for our nation and the world. As one of NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts, Glenn’s riveting flight aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, united our nation, launched America to the forefront of the space race, and secured for him a unique place in the annals of history.
“While that first orbit was the experience of a lifetime, Glenn, who also had flown combat missions in both World War II and the Korean War as a Marine aviator, continued to serve his country as a four-term Senator from Ohio, as a trusted statesman, and an educator. In 1998, at the age of 77, he became the oldest human to venture into space as a crew member on the Discovery space shuttle — once again advancing our understanding of living and working in space.
“He earned many honors for both his military and public service achievements. In 2012, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the country can bestow, and he also received the Congressional Gold Medal.
“Glenn’s extraordinary courage, intellect, patriotism and humanity were the hallmarks of a life of greatness. His missions have helped make possible everything our space program has since achieved and the human missions to an asteroid and Mars that we are striving toward now.
“With all his accomplishments, he was always focused on the young people of today, who would soon lead the world. ‘The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel,’ he said. ‘To me, there is no greater calling … If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I’ve accomplished something.’
“Senator Glenn’s legacy is one of risk and accomplishment, of history created and duty to country carried out under great pressure with the whole world watching. The entire NASA Family will be forever grateful for his outstanding service, commitment and friendship. Personally, I shall miss him greatly. As a fellow Marine and aviator, he was a mentor, role model and, most importantly, a dear friend. My prayers go out to his lovely and devoted wife, Annie, and the entire Glenn family at this time of their great loss.”
Source: Bob Jacobs, NASA
Additional information about Glenn is available online at www.nasa.gov/glenn and www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/bios/john_glenn.html.
For more photos and his NASA biography, visit www.nasa.gov/johnglenn