(KMSP) - The first American astronaut to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn has died at 95.
Glenn also served four terms as a U.S. senator from Ohio.
Former NASA commander from Wisconsin recalls memories of John Glenn
Curt Brown knew John Glenn well. Brown, an airline pilot and former astronaut, commanded John Glenn in 1998, when 77-year-old Glenn became the oldest person in space.
“He said my name is John, I’m the lowest member on you crew and your job as commander is to kick my butt if I’m not doing everything right, and I expect that’s what you’ll do,” Brown told Fox 9.
Brown calls Glenn and his wife two of the nicest people he’s ever met.
“Back in 1962, he got put in the history books for being the first American to orbit the earth,” Brown said. “But, he got put in our hearts for being a public servant and an outstanding leader and a true space pioneer and that’s what we’ll remember him by.”
Brown says people often forget the danger of Glenn’s historic mission.
“He put his life on the line for something he believed in,” Brown said. “And something he did for the country, not for himself, not for NASA, he took that flight for his country.”
Ohio Governor, John Kasich released this statement
“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve. As we bow our heads and share out grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.
Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots. Godspeed, John Glenn!”
Statement by President Obama on the passing of John Glenn
When John Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a nation. And when his Friendship 7 spacecraft splashed down a few hours later, the first American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there's no limit to the heights we can reach together. With John's passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend. John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars. John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond--not just to visit, but to stay. Today, the people of Ohio remember a devoted public servant who represented his fellow Buckeyes in the U.S. Senate for a quarter century and who fought to keep America a leader in science and technology. Our thoughts are with his beloved wife Annie, their children John and Carolyn and the entire Glenn family. The last of America's first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn.
Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. He served as a U.S. senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1999.