Astronaut, WWII Veteran John Glenn Hospitalized


Former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn is in a Columbus, Ohio, hospital with an undisclosed illness. Glenn, 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth and the last surviving member of the original astronauts in the Mercury program. He was admitted to James Cancer Hospital more than a week ago, and a family spokesman said “even though Glenn is at The James that does not necessarily mean he has cancer,” according to news reports Wednesday. Glenn underwent heart-valve surgery in 2014 and suffered a stroke afterward, and has had difficulties with his vision.

Glenn is a decorated military pilot who joined the Marine Corps to fly fighters in World War II. During the Korean War, he flew combat missions for the Marines as well as for the Air Force as an exchange pilot. He went on to fly as a military test pilot and in 1957 set a transcontinental speed record from Los Angeles to New York in a supersonic F8U Crusader. He joined NASA’s first astronaut program the following year. On Feb. 20, 1962, on board the Friendship 7 spacecraft, he orbited the Earth three times, reaching a maximum altitude of 162 miles. More than 36 years later, in October 1998, Glenn became the oldest astronaut to fly in space when he served as a crew member on the space shuttle Discovery.