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  • John Herschel Glenn, Jr., is a former American pilot, engineer, astronaut and United States senator. He was a combat aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, and is now the only surviving member of the Mercury Seven: the elite U.S. military test pilots selected by NASA to operate the experimental Mercury spacecraft and who became the first American astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space, after cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov and the suborbital missions of fellow Mercury Seven astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom. Glenn resigned from NASA on January 16, 1964, and the next day announced plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. But injury from a bathtub concussion caused him to withdraw from the race the following March. He retired from the Marine Corps on January 1, 1965. A member of the Democratic Party, he finally won election to the Senate in 1974 and served through January 3, 1999. Glenn received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990.

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