John Glenn died today.
He was one of the "Mercury Seven" group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America's first astronauts and fly the Project Mercury spacecraft. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. With the death of Scott Carpenter on October 10, 2013, Glenn became the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven.
Glenn resigned from NASA on January 16, 1964, and from the Marine Corps on January 1, 1965. He won election to the Senate in 1974 and served through January 3, 1999.
On October 29, 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs, when at age 77, he flew as a Payload Specialist on Discovery mission STS-95. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Here is John Glenn and his wife leaving the memorial for Neil Armstrong at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 2012.