back to article RIP John Glenn: First American in orbit – and later, the oldest, too

John Glenn, America's first man into orbit and the oldest person ever to make it into space, has died at the age of 95 after a short illness. Glenn shot to national fame in the early 1960s as part of the Mercury 7 – seven pilots selected by NASA to be the first Americans into space. On February 20, 1962, Glenn and his …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Oh man, I'm approaching terminal age then.

    It shall drink a beer to one of the Milestone People of the Cold War!

    To John Glenn! Salute!

    (He always looked like that mercenary guy in "Under Fire", maybe because it was the same actor who played Glenn in the US-centric "dramatization" of real-life events "The Right Stuff")

    > after a short illness

    Yeah, nice circumscription for what must be "massively invasive cancer"...

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Oh man, I'm approaching terminal age then.

      That would be Ed Harris. Good casting choice.

      Yes, it's the end of an era. Keep the clock running, wherever you are...

      If half of what is in The Right Stuff is accurate, Glenn was one of the bravest men ever. Not for flying combat missions, not for being a test pilot, not for riding rockets - but for standing up to his boss, all the way to the top, in order to stand by his wife and not folding. The right stuff, and then some.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Oh man, I'm approaching terminal age then.

        Well, I would only say it is the end of an era when Chuck Yeager changes his wings for ones with feathers.

        But I know what you mean. Godspeed John Glenn.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Oh man, I'm approaching terminal age then.

      To be honest, reading this makes me think I've got at least thirty more years in which I could conceivably get into space.

      To blaze a trail in youth and old age is quite something, Senator.


    3. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Oh man, I'm approaching terminal age then.

      > > after a short illness

      > Yeah, nice circumscription for what must be "massively invasive cancer"...

      It's usually shorthand for a heart attack or a stroke. (Of the sort that takes a day or two for you to actually die.)

      "Long illness" means cancer or (perhaps) dementia. Even a massively invasive cancer usually takes months to kill the patient. (In my wife's case, it was seven months to death's door, then she got surgery to remove the previously undetected kidney tumour. At the moment it was removed, the tumour was bigger than the kidney, but of course it had metastasised by then, so she went back to queuing for another seven months before the bony guy let her in)

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Oengus

    I'll raise a glass

    It's Friday afternoon. I'll have a drink in memory of all of those that pushed the boundaries of science at great risk.

    Vail John Glenn. The last of the first (of the Americans).

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: I'll raise a glass

      I followed the space program religiously as a kid. It was a time when anything was possible, and men like John Glenn were a big part of that. I wasn't very old when he flew Friendship 7, but I used to watch all of the Gemini launches and whatever TV footage they did, as well as Apollo, etc. until "suddenly it was gone".

      It was a time when ANYTHING was possible. And nobody stood in the way, whining and protesting and moaning and drawing attention to themselves. We could see real heros, portrayed as heros, and it was good. Not many of those guys left, from that era.

      And men like John Glenn helped to make that happen!

      Cheers! [mine's an ale]

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: I'll raise a glass

      Vail John Glenn.

      Don't you mean 'Vale, John Glenn'?

      Regardless, I agree with the sentiment.

  4. redpawn Silver badge

    The clock is forever running

    Thanks for all you have done for us!

  5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    RIP A quiet hero

    John Glenn was a quiet hero who wore his well-earned fame with grace, "Godspeed, John Glenn."

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: RIP A quiet hero

      And he was just a nice guy in person. Met him twice when I lived in Ohio. I'm saddened. I watched the launch as a kid sitting on the edge of my seat as did everyone else in the classroom that day. Godspeed sir and may you touch the hand of God one more time*.

      *Go read "High Flight" if you don't understand the reference.

      1. WraithCadmus

        Re: RIP A quiet hero

        Met him twice when I lived in Ohio.

        Ah, the old joke about Neil Armstrong, Orville Wright, and John Glenn all being from Ohio. They were looking for the fastest way out!

  6. jake Silver badge

    One of the greatest of the greatest generation passes.

    Don't shed a tear, rather toast his life and remember.

    Rest in Peace, John. You were a far greater man than most.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes me sad...

    We've lost that adventurous spirit... Its being replaced with small minded corporate asses who think Tracking / Ad-slinging and basically monitoring every human on planet earth is a more lofty goal... Its profitable for sure!... But Mars 33 gets my vote....

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Makes me sad...

      As someone else from his generation who passed away a couple of weeks ago wrote before he died: As he died to make men holy, Let us die to make things cheap.

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    An amazing man for an amazing time

    I am lucky to have lived through it.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: An amazing man for an amazing time

      Indeed. I was too young to remember Mercury, but I have vivid memories of Apollo. Sad that we never properly built on the courage and legacy of people like Glenn and Armstrong. 50+ years on and we can still barely get someone into LEO.

      Thank you Sir, and RIP.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn ....

    You have to admire these pioneers of the space industry. They allowed themselves to be strapped into rockets that were pretty much unknown technology, almost experimental, aware that there was a significant chance that when they went up, they might come down one piece at a time.

    RIP John Glenn and all your comrades - you did something that ultimately may have helped all of humanity.

    1. Rathkennamike

      Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn ....

      Adventurers on the final frontier, just a pity the dreams they created have only been partially realized because of the international barriers created by and introversion of our political leaders

  10. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Another childhood hero dies

    Sad, but he has had a tremendous innings. He, and all the other astronauts in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programme, were the top tier heroes in my childhood. He definitely had the right stuff

  11. cray74

    Dammit, 2016.

    1. Pedigree-Pete

      Long and expanding list of 2016 "victims".

      RIP John Glenn, also Greg Lake, we mostly know many others. PP

  12. Dabooka Silver badge

    What an obit

    Makes me realise I'm actually going to achieve fuck all in my life all in comparison to this chap.

  13. imanidiot Silver badge

    Rest in peace.

    A great man passed away. I shall take a minute tonight to raise a glass in his honor.

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Another raising of the glass here.

    Though there is of course the obligatory 'world is round' link:

  15. Dom 3

    "NASA also recruited 13 women who passed the necessary tests but weren't allowed to be considered because they were not test pilots" - cobblers.

    Wikipedia is quite clear:

    "thirteen American women who, as part of a privately funded program, underwent some of the same physiological screening tests as the astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959 for Project Mercury. [... they] were not part of NASA's astronaut program, never flew in space and never met as a group"

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Professur

    There goes the man with the shortest Bucket list on the planet.

  18. Chris G Silver badge

    Sad to see another great man go.

    I would like to think, when humanity finally gets out there that they will name a planet after him. He may not have found the way but he did take ( along with Yuri Gargarin) one of the first footsteps on a great journey.

  19. W Donelson

    The Right Stuff

    Glenn was real man who loved, respected and protected his shy wife, a real man of courage and honour, a real man who committed all for his country.

    Glenn was a real man with The Right Stuff.

    "Sleep amongst the stars you reached for" ❤

    *cries for the loss of Glenn, and our nation*

  20. Alistair

    This small blue dot.

    Has just decreased it's albedo a bunch.

    I wasn't about for Mercury, or rather wasn't at that point aware enough to pay attention. I watched (and remember watching) several of the Apollo missions. I watched shuttle launches religiously, and still pay fairly close attention to what gets kicked up there.

    There are few that hold a candle to the grace and serenity that was John Glenn. I met him once and didn't even realize who it was (until a relative told me who I'd been chatting at).

    Damn you 2016.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    God is where?

    He said looking out, how can you not believe there is a God

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: God is where?

      Whatever his achievements, that doesn't make everything he said sensible or accurate.

  22. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    I heard the news...

    ...while driving home yesterday. I was channel hopping and came across BBC Radio 4's "Last Word" programme. It was about half way through but I left it on. It was interesting. Right at the end they did a summary of the people. John Glen? WTF? When did that happen? I think that's the first time I've been shocked to hear of someone's death when it wasn't someone I knew personally.

    I was a little young to have much, if any, awareness of the Mercury programme. I was still too young really to have interest in Apollo for that matter. But I do still clearly remember us three kids being woken up by mum at whatever time of night it was here in the UK to be taken downstairs to watch "The Man on The Moon". I also remember pulling the curtain back and looking up at the sky when she told me she'd woken us up at night :-) (was only 6 at the time!!)

    I've pretty much had an interest in space flight ever since.

  23. jason 7


    A fine man by all accounts. Will be missed. I still feel a pang of sadness to think Armstrong is also gone.

    Those Mercury flight suits were totally badass.

    I still doff my cap to the Gemini guys though. That's one project I would have not got involved in. Having to spend two weeks with another guy in a can the size of a Smart Car goes beyond most human limits.

  24. Stevie


    I was born in an age of heroes.

    I'll die in an age of virtual realty.

    I like the first one better.

    RIP John Glenn. Lookin' good, goin' good.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022