John Glenn Friendship 7 Day, February 20

John Glenn and NASA technicians look at the  artwork to be painted on his Mercury capsule.
John Glenn and NASA technicians look at the artwork to be painted on his Mercury capsule. | Source

In 2016, John Glenn still teaches at The Ohio State University at age 95.

A Famous Nonogenarian's Golden Anniversary

The Honorable John H. Glenn Jr., retired US Senator and Mercury 7 Astronaut was born in Cambridge, Ohio in an area famous for its Y Bridge.

At 95 years of age in 2016, John Glenn outlived many of his Cambridge neighbors. Columbus is fortunate that he came here for his retirement years. This actual semi-retirement, because Senator Glenn maintains an office and is active in speaking on college campuses and advocating for an American future in space.

February 20, 2012 was the 50th Anniversary of Colonel John Glenn's and America's First Manned Orbit of three turns around Earth.

Prior to launch,he sat in the small space inside his NASA capsule, atop an Atlas rocket that was rebuilt from a missile.

Active in the Pacific Theater of WWII and later a US Senator for 24 years, John Glenn rode around the moon in 1962. To honor this feat permanently, Ohio's Governor John Kasich signed into law the designation of February 20 as John Glenn Friendship 7 Day.

The Mercury Project Astronauts each named his own capsule and Glenn chose Friendship 7.

John Glenn Friendship 7 Day Commemorative Stamp

Postage stamp released on February 20, 1992 in honor of John Glenn and the Friendship 7 orbit.
Postage stamp released on February 20, 1992 in honor of John Glenn and the Friendship 7 orbit. | Source

Project Mercury Human Flight Program

Unmanned missions explored the possibility of human survival in Earth Orbit.

The unmanned flights were followed by Ham the Chimpanzee, who completed his own successful Mercury mission.

The astronauts who followed named their own capsules:

Project Mercury Space Capsules, May 1961 - May 1963

Astronaut
Capsule Name
Number of Earth Orbits
Allan Shepherd
Freedom 7
subborital
Gus Grissom
Liberty Bell 7
suborbital
John H. Glenn
Friendship 7
3
Scott Carpenter
Aurora 7
3
Wally Shirra
Sigma 7
6
Gordon Cooper
Faith 7
22

Mercury 7 astronaut Deke Slayton did not fly until 1975, in a joint US - Soviet mission. He had named his Mercury capsule Delta 7, but was grounded for an irregular heartbeat.

John Glenn's "Weirdest" Training

Second Space Adventure

Senator Glenn is happy to have been able to "go up" again when he was 77 in 1998. Having been discouraged - tantamount to being barred - from further space exploration by President John F. Kennedy in order to preserve Glenn as a national treasure and asset, the former astronaut was thrilled to go into space again.

Glenn would have liked to have been on Apollo 11. JFK had suggested that Glenn run for public office instead of continuing in space exploration and after a first attempt interrupted by an small accident and concussion, Glenn finally became Ohio's senior US Senator for 24 years ending in1999.

Living in Columbus OH, Senator Glenn arranged a speech at the Ohio State University on the 50th Anniversary date of his orbit, with special speaker Captain Mark Kelly, the final Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s in July 2011.

The ground floor of one of the newer buildings on the OSU campus is dedicated expressly to his space-going years and is open for visits during normal weekday business hours. It's the John Glenn School of Public Affairs.

In addition, we have enjoyed an exhibit about Glenn's Friendship 7 orbit at OSU's lavishly remodeled Thompson Library (displayed February 1 – April 30, 2012). We also maintain the John Glenn Archives.

John Glenn at OSU in the 2010s

Mission Control on Feb. 20, 1962 (50 years previous)

At Mission Control, Friendship 7 leaves Eastern Australia on the NASA World Map.
At Mission Control, Friendship 7 leaves Eastern Australia on the NASA World Map. | Source
Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. in his silver Mercury pressure suit , January 1962.
Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. in his silver Mercury pressure suit , January 1962. | Source

John Glenn Sites

show route and directions
A markerCambridge OH -
Cambridge, OH 43725, USA
[get directions]

B markerNew Concord OH -
New Concord, OH, USA
[get directions]

C markerNational Road / Zane Grey Museum -
National Road-Zane Grey Museum, 8850 E Pike, Norwich, OH 43767-9785, USA
[get directions]

D markerNASA John H. Glenn Research Center -
Nasa Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Rd, Cleveland, OH 44135-3191, USA
[get directions]

E markerJohn GLenn School of Public Affairs -
Page Hall, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
[get directions]

John Glenn Story, 1963: 29 min.

The Project Mercury Monument of American Early Space Exploration at Cape Canaveral

This is a sunrise shot of the Project Mercury Monument that honors the original seven Mercury Astronauts at Pad 14, Cape Canaveral USAF Station. A time capsule is buried beneath the concrete slab.
This is a sunrise shot of the Project Mercury Monument that honors the original seven Mercury Astronauts at Pad 14, Cape Canaveral USAF Station. A time capsule is buried beneath the concrete slab. | Source
Mercury 7 Patch
Mercury 7 Patch | Source

Cape Canaveral, Florida

A markerCape Canaveral, Florida -
Cape Canaveral, FL, USA
[get directions]

Remembering Absent Friends

On February 17, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, the surviving former astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter from Project Mercury met in celebration with over 100 people that retired from their space project. On the Friday before, they gave a press conference and spoke not only of the Mission to Mars, but of future exploration for scientific research purposes.

Also on Friday, the two surviving Mercury astronauts recognized their friends and astronaut coworkers that have died. They spoke of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton. Carpenter and Glenn would have liked to have seen 5 empty chairs on the dais to represent those men.

Sadly, Grissom was lost on the ground with Roger Chaffee and Ed White in a capsule simulation when the door was locked from the outside and the capsule interior placed under high-pressure pure oxygen. A fire erupted in the pure oxygen atmosphere of a pressure too high to enable opening the hatch.

Mercury 7 Astronauts

The Mercury 7 Astronauts pose with a model Atlas rocket 7/12/1962. Front Row, left to right: Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Deke Slayton and Gordon Cooper. Back Row: Alan Shepard, Wally Schirra and John Glenn.
The Mercury 7 Astronauts pose with a model Atlas rocket 7/12/1962. Front Row, left to right: Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Deke Slayton and Gordon Cooper. Back Row: Alan Shepard, Wally Schirra and John Glenn. | Source

Discovery 7, 1998

Click thumbnail to view full-size
In space at age 77. Senator John Herschel Glenn Jr. flew again on October 29, 1998 for mission STS-95 - US Space Shuttle Discovery.DISCOVERY 7
In space at age 77. Senator John Herschel Glenn Jr. flew again on October 29, 1998 for mission STS-95 - US Space Shuttle Discovery.
In space at age 77. Senator John Herschel Glenn Jr. flew again on October 29, 1998 for mission STS-95 - US Space Shuttle Discovery. | Source
DISCOVERY 7
DISCOVERY 7 | Source

NASA Future Forum at OSU

(Watch the event archived at the NASA link offered below.)

The Ohio State University; February 20 - 21, 2012

Theater in the remodeled Ohio Student Union


Panels and Speakers include

  • The Honorable Senator (retired) and former Astronaut John Glenn
  • Astronaut Leland Melvin, NASA Associate Administrator for Education
  • Dr. Mason Peck, Chief Technologist, NASA Headquarters
  • Dr. Fayette Collier, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Dr. Roger Launius, Senior Curator, Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum
  • Mr. George Whitesides, CEO and President, Virgin Galactic
  • The Honorable Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
  • The Honorable Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator
  • Dr. John Grunsfeld, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate

Watch Online

  • Streamed live online at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

STS-95: Discovery 7

Senator John H. Glenn's return to space in 1998.
Senator John H. Glenn's return to space in 1998. | Source

Discovery 7

Seated in the photo above, left to right: Steven W. Lindsey, pilot; Curtis L. Brown Jr., mission commander. Standing, left to right: Scott F. Parazynski and Stephen K. Robinson, mission specialists; Chiaki Mukai, payload specialist for Japan; Pedro Duque, mission specialist for the European Space Agency (ESA); and US Senator John H. Glenn Jr., payload specialist.

On Day 5 of the 9-day mission, Moon River by Andy Williams was the wake-up song played for John Glenn and for Day 9, Voyage Into Space by Peter Nero was played for the Senator. Just as in 1962, the residents and officials of Rockingham and Perth in Australia left lights burning for Glenn to see from his spacecraft.

Discovery 7 was extraordinary and a favorite of the American public. STS-95 mission payloads included 1) microgravity material science, 2) medical research for humans on Earth and in space, and 3) astronomy. These studies and the presence of the first Spanish person in space, John Glenn's participation, and the beginning of HDTV broadcasting with the mission launch with Walter Conrad and former astronaut Pete Conrad announcing brought the seven astronauts on the mission the Douglas Murrow Public Outreach Award of the Science Foundation the following year.

Some of John Glenn's Awards

Holidays

  • John Glenn Friendship 7 Day in Ohio - February 20, beginning 2012

Civilian Awards

  • Congressional Gold Medal
  • Congressional Space Medal of Honor
  • Douglas Murrow Public Outreach Award of the Science Foundation
  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal
  • The Woodrow Wilson Award
  • Thomas D. White National Defense Award

Military Awards: US Navy and US Marine Corps

  • Air Medal with three Silver Stars and two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • American Campaign Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star
  • China Service Medal
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars and two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Navy Occupation Service Medal
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Presidential Unit Citations - United State and Korean Service
  • United Nations Korea Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal - United States

Send Congratulations or Greetings to

John Glenn, Adjunct Professor

The Ohio State University

John Glenn School of Public Affairs

350 Page Hall

1810 College Road

Columbus OH 43210


Our Ohio Astronauts

Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. -- Fourth from right, bottom row.
Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. -- Fourth from right, bottom row. | Source

© 2012 Patty Inglish

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Comments 2 comments

Joan Whetzel 4 years ago

Living in the Houston area, it's easy to get hooked on anything space related. Thanks for this interesting piece of space history.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I really am fortunate to live nearby John Glenn's office!

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