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Written by: Tom Rieland
Date: January 25, 2012

You can join the OSU campus and the Columbus community in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first American to orbit the earth.  And he lives right down the street with his lovely wife Annie.  There are big ticket events and multiple free events that are part of this celebration throughout the month of February.  Find out all the information here. 

I have to say the most thrilling moment of my nine year career at Ohio State was meeting John and Annie Glenn.  We exchanged notes about his brief run for the presidency as a I was a reporter who covered some of his appearances in Mississippi.  He is truly an American legend and for so many good reasons.  I’m so glad the University is taking this moment to celebrate his accomplishments.

The following is from a piece written by the National Archives:

“John Glenn blasted into orbit on February 20, 1962, part of a space race between the United States and the Soviet Union in which the Americans were lagging. The successful completion of Glenn’s mission (he orbited the Earth three times) did much to restore American prestige worldwide.

Encased in a bulky, pressurized suit, strapped into a seat, and crammed into a tiny capsule, Glenn put his life at risk as he traveled at 17,500 miles per hour 160 miles above Earth. With great skill, courage, and grace, Glenn piloted the spacecraft manually as the autopilot function failed, and Mission Control wondered whether the capsule’s life-saving heat shield would hold while reentering the atmosphere. Glenn returned to Earth after 5 hours, suffering no injury more severe than scraped knuckles, sustained as he prepared to exit the capsule after a safe splashdown.”