John Glenn is given a hero's welcome during a ticker tape parade in New York City. (UPI/Corbis/Bettmann)
President Kennedy awards John Glenn the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. (AP/Wide World)
thousands of Americans line the streets of Washington, D.C. and
New York City to cheer John Glenn. He speaks to a joint session
of Congress. They award him the Medal of Honor. Friendship 7 is
placed in the Smithsonian Museum next to the historic airplanes
flown by the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh.
Glenn leaves NASA in 1964 when it becomes clear that he will not fly again. Some say the president doesn't want to risk the life of such a famous hero. Ten years later, he is elected to the United States Senate from Ohio. He serves four terms, retiring in 1998.
In October 1998, 77-year-old John Glenn once again makes history as the oldest man to fly in space. During the STS-95 space shuttle mission, he studies how space flight affects aging. When he returns from space Glenn again receives a ticker tape parade in New York City. As NASA's head administrator says at the time, "Unlike most astronauts, he never got the opportunity for a second flight. He is part of the NASA family, an American hero, and he has the right stuff for this mission."
Glenn was treated like royalty after his space flight in 1962.
What would someone have to do today to earn the kind of public
love and honor he received? Can you think of any modern-day
heroes like John Glenn?
John Glenn, right, with the crew of STS-95 (NASA)Ask an Astronaut: John Glenn
Visit NASA and ask an astronaut a question! You can also check out John Glenn's answers from a student interview in 1998.