December 8, 2016
— When NASA announced the launch of the space shuttle on Oct. 29, 1998, the commentator exclaimed, "And liftoff of Discovery, with a crew of six astronaut heroes and one American legend!"
That legend was original Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who died Thursday (Dec. 8) at the age of 95.
One of the first seven pilots chosen by NASA to be an astronaut, Glenn famously became the first American to orbit Earth aboard his Mercury capsule, Friendship 7. Thirty-six years later, after serving for four terms in the U.S. Senate representing his home state of Ohio, Glenn returned to orbit aboard the shuttle Discovery, again reporting, "zero-g and I feel fine." At 77, he became the oldest person ever to fly into space, a record that still stands.
Presented here are a collection of NASA photos spanning his career, from 1959 to the 50th anniversary of his historic first flight in 2012.