The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is celebrating John H. Glenn’s 95th birthday on Monday. The former U.S. senator was the first American to orbit the Earth. He circled our planet three times aboard the Friendship 7 capsule on February 20, 1962.

The NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland issued a tweet on Monday to congratulate Glenn and posted a picture featuring the former astronaut while signing baseball balls in 2012. A spokesperson told ABC News that Glenns is spending the day out with family and friends in Columbus. Glenn, who graduated as an engineer at the Muskingum College in New Concord, received an Air Medal with 18 Clusters after representing the United States during World War II and the Korean War.

The former astronaut has 9,000 hours of flying time, including 3,000 hours in jet aircraft, said NASA in a statement. Image Credit: Inquisitr
The former astronaut has 9,000 hours of flying time, including 3,000 hours in jet aircraft, said NASA in a statement. Image Credit: Inquisitr

In 1992, Glenn became the first American on a manned orbital mission, which launched from Cape Canaveral. The mission lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds, said NASA. He also participated in a 9-day mission called STS-95 Discovery when he was 77 years old.

STS-95 Discovery took place from October 29 to November 7, 1998. The mission deployed the Spartan solar-observing spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform, added NASA.

Later in 1974 he became elected to serve as the Ohio senator. He worked as a politician until 1999, when he retired from the U.S. Senate.

Ohio’s International Airport has been renamed in honor of John Glenn

The Port Columbus International Airport is now called “John Glenn Columbus International Airport,” in honor of the former astronaut who piloted airplanes until the age of 90. The name change was carried out on June 28.

Glenn said the renaming of the airport was an honor for him. He explained that it might attract young people to show interest towards the U.S. aviation. He attended the event alongside his wife Annie Glenn, who is 73 years old.  

“One of the things that I think is most important about something like this, other than just honoring me, is the fact that it may draw attention for some of our young people and develop their interest in knowing that they, in their time, can do as many new things as have been done in aviation and in flying in the past,” Glenn said was quoted as saying by USA Today.

The Canadian Space Agency sent a happy birthday to Glenn on Monday and remarked the astronaut’s efforts in encouraging science studies. The former senator has stated that youngsters should engage in science, math, and technology, to take the U.S. to the next phase of space travel.

Glenn has thanked his parents for taking him to the airport when he was a child many times before.  He said that he always found attractive looking at airplanes that passed through Ohio. The Marine Corps Museum published a video on Saturday showing John Glenn while breaking the transcontinental speed record aboard an F8U-1P Crusader.

Source: NASA