Friday, 9 December 2016

Space pioneer John Glenn passes away aged 95

Vale John Glenn, aged 95, (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016), space flight pioneer and the first American to orbit the Earth.

He restored US pride after first Yuri Gagarin and then Gherman Titov had successfully put Russia ahead in the space race. And at the age of 77, after a career in politics he did it all over again, becoming the oldest person ever to travel into orbit.

Below is a short doco on his famous flight in 1962, flying the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7 for a space journey that would last more than four hours. During the trip Perth citizens flashed their lights so he could see the city as he passed over, for which he thanked them. He also saw weird flashing lights, like fireflies in space, but NASA seemed uninterested in his observations.

A malfunction occurred, so they forced an early splashdown after three orbits into the Atlantic.

He became so popular the president, John F Kennedy, allegedly refused to allow him to return to space the following year, lest he become a presidential contender. Instead, he became a senator in his home state of Ohio.

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