Senator and NASA astronaut John Glenn was, without question, an American hero. Many people remember, whether they are old enough to have heard firsthand or from recordings, Glenn's famous declaration from orbit: "Roger, Zero G, and I feel fine."
In addition to his historic early space flight, Glenn served many years as a U.S. Senator from Ohio. He made space history a second time in 1998 when he flew aboard the space shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person to fly in space.
Those of us at JPL feel a special affinity with Glenn. JPL's Explorer 1 was the first American satellite to orbit Earth, and four years later, in 1962, we joined the nation in watching with pride as Glenn became the first American to orbit our planet. Later that year, he visited JPL to see projects the lab was conducting on behalf of NASA's human space program. In 1963, he took part in an early telecommunications satellite experiment with a JPL project manager, Jack James. In an audio recording of the experiment that was recently unearthed, Glenn discusses his trip to JPL and marvels at the quality of the satellite communications.
We will all miss this great American space pioneer.
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News Media ContactVeronica McGregor
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California