NBAA marks passing of legendary John Glenn
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president and CEO Ed Bolen today reflected on the loss of former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, who passed away Dec. 8 in his home state of Ohio at age 95.
“John Glenn is an American hero and icon,” Bolen said. “He embodied the ‘Right Stuff,’ in so many ways, including in his service to the country as an astronaut and senator, in his tireless work to promote aviation and aerospace, and in his devotion to family and friendships. We salute him, and wish him Godspeed.”
Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth and later, the oldest astronaut to orbit the planet. In 1962, he rocketed into space aboard a tiny Mercury capsule named Friendship 7, orbiting the planet three times before enduring a tension-filled splashdown marked by concern over whether the capsule’s protective heat shield would remain in place. Glenn earned a reputation for being cool under fire during that episode, which ended with a successful splashdown near the Grand Turk Islands, approximately 800 miles south of Bermuda.
Glenn went on to become a U.S. senator from Ohio, and in 1984, he launched an unsuccessful bid for the presidency. Afterward, he returned to the Senate, where he remained for another 14 years.
As he was about to retire from elected office in 1998, Glenn, a general aviation pilot, received NBAA’s No Plane No Gain award, along with fellow retiring Sen. Wendell Ford of Kentucky. The award highlighted both lawmakers’ contributions to the general aviation industry; it was given during the opening of the Business Wings exhibit, sponsored by NBAA, at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Later that same year, Glenn, who was 77 at the time, became the nation’s oldest astronaut, returning to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery on a nine-day orbital mission.
Glenn is survived by his wife Annie, their two children, John David and Carolyn Ann, and two grandchildren.