Obituaries

John Glenn dies at 95; hero was first American to orbit Earth

John Glenn dies at 95; hero was first American to orbit Earth

When his bell-shaped capsule splashed into the ocean after orbiting Earth again and again, John Glenn emerged an instant hero — the fighter-jock pilot of few words who in just five hours of circling the planet helped cement America’s faith that it could lead the race into outer space.

He walked across the deck of the aircraft carrier where Friendship 7 had been lowered as casually as a guy who’d just returned from running a crosstown errand, exuding a confidence and swagger later mythologized in Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff.”

Decades later, at the age of 77, Glenn would return to space on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery after...

59°