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6 facts about John Glenn on his 102nd birthday

US astronaut John Glenn, born July 18, 1921, is a beloved Ohio figure for his accolades and achievements in space, politics, and local culture.

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John Glenn was born on July 18, 1921. | Photos via Wikimedia Commons

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Whether you’ve flown out of the airport or studied on The Ohio State University’s campus, there’s a good chance you’ve been within orbit of John Glenn’s influence.

Today is Tuesday, July 18 — but it isn’t your average weekday. John Glenn was born on this very day in Ohio 100+ years ago, and we’re ready to blast off some fast facts in five... four... three...

A quick history

John Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio on July 18, 1921, which would’ve made him 102 years old today. He died on December 8, 2016 in Columbus at the age of 95.

The first of many

Did you know Glenn is the first person to average supersonic speed on a transcontinental flight? He achieved this in 1957 during his time with the US Naval Reserve where he earned the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Not one time, not two times...

Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth on Feb. 20, 1962, and thanks to faulty parts, this trip resulted with him circling our planet three total times. Throughout the nearly five-hour orbit, NASA reported his ship reached speeds of 17,000 mph.

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Columbus renamed the airport to honor John Glenn in 2016. | Photo by Kati Hartwig/CMH

Man of science

Did you know Glenn was a member of COSI in 1965? The Columbus Metropolitan Library has the receipts.

Supersonic senator

After his time with NASA, Glenn was elected as an Ohio Senator in 1974. He served until 1999, and was able to squeeze in a trip to space in that time.

A lasting legacy

The John Glenn International Airport is Columbus’ main passenger airport, and it’s where 7.7+ million people fly through each year. Additionally, Glenn’s work in public service — both as an astronaut and as a senator — led to OSU creating the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

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