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    John Glenn received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978. He was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. On October 29, 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs, when at age 77, he flew on Discovery (STS-95). As of 2012, Glenn and M. Scott Carpenter are the last living members of the Mercury Seven.

    Astronaut, John Glenn (Cambridge, OH) - First man to orbit the Earth, later became a US Senator

    NASA selected Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper in 1959 as one of the 7 astronauts for their Mercury Project. In 1 1/2 days, the Faith 7 spacecraft orbited the Earth 22 times. (photo: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Collection)

    John Glenn's Mercury mission was the first American space flight around the world. #Infographic

    February 2, 1962: John Glenn If there is one characteristic that defines Ralph Morse's iconic portrait of astronaut John Glenn, it's the picture's wonderful, stirring simplicity. Here, on the very cusp of becoming a legend, a "brave man" (as LIFE unapologetically labeled him) stares, unblinking, into the camera.The Space Race is being run -- or rather, flown -- in deadly earnest. The Soviet Union has, thus far, been outpacing America by almost every measure. But when a straight-talking, clea...

    February 20, 1962: John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, circling the globe three times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds. This made Glenn the third American in space and the fifth human being in space.

    Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., NASA flight surgeon William Douglas and equipment specialist Joseph W. Schmidt leave crew quarters prior to the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. Glenn is in his pressure suit and is carrying the portable ventilation unit.

    John Glenn Becomes First Man To Orbit Earth 3 Times- I remember watching this in the school auditorium on a 32in. black and white TV on the stage. It was so exciting!!

    In 1959, John Glenn was selected by NASA as one of the seven original astronauts in the U.S. space program. On February 20, 1962, he became the first American to orbit the earth in the Friendship 7.

    In 1959, the wives of the Project Mercury astronauts pose for a photo. (Click thru for more pix from NASA in the '50's)