On This Date: October 29th

Oct 29, 1998:

John Glenn returns to space

Nearly four decades after he became the first American to orbit the Earth, Senator John Hershel Glenn, Jr., is launched into space again as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery. At 77 years of age, Glenn was the oldest human ever to travel in space. During the nine-day mission, he served as part of a NASA study on health problems associated with aging.

John Herschel Glenn Jr. (born July 18, 1921, i...

Glenn, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the seven men chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1959 to become America’s first astronauts. A decorated pilot, he had flown nearly 150 combat missions during World War II and the Korean War. In 1957, he made the first nonstop supersonic flight across the United States, flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes.

In April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space, and his spacecraft, Vostok 1, made a full orbit before returning to Earth. Less than one month later, American Alan B. Shepard, Jr., became the first American in space when his Freedom 7 spacecraft was launched on a suborbital flight. American “Gus” Grissom made another suborbital flight in July, and in August Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov spent more than 25 hours in space aboard Vostok 2, making 17 orbits. As a technological power, the United States was looking very much second-rate compared with its Cold War adversary. If the Americans wanted to dispel this notion, they needed a multi-orbital flight before another Soviet space advance arrived.

President John F. Kennedy inspects Mercury cap...

On February 20, 1962, NASA and Colonel John Glenn accomplished this feat with the flight of Friendship 7, a spacecraft that made three orbits of the Earth in five hours. Glenn was hailed as a national hero, and on February 23 President John F. Kennedy visited him at Cape Canaveral. Glenn later addressed Congress and was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City.

Out of a reluctance to risk the life of an astronaut as popular as Glenn, NASA essentially grounded the “Clean Marine” in the years after his historic flight. Frustrated with this uncharacteristic lack of activity, Glenn turned to politics and in 1964 announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Ohio and formally left NASA. Later that year, however, he withdrew his Senate bid after seriously injuring his inner ear in a fall from a horse. In 1970, following a stint as a Royal Crown Cola executive, he ran for the Senate again but lost the Democratic nomination to Howard Metzenbaum. Four years later, he defeated Metzenbaum, won the general election, and went on to win reelection three times. In 1984, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president.

John Glenn OK - GPN-2000-001026

In 1998, Glenn attracted considerable media attention when he returned to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. In 1999, he retired from his U.S. Senate seat after four consecutive terms in office, a record for the state of Ohio.

Also on This Day

American Revolution
Hancock resigns as president of Congress, 1777
Guitarist Duane Allman dies in motorcycle accident, 1971
Civil War
The Battle of Wauhatchie concludes, 1863
Cold War
Israel invades Egypt; Suez Crisis begins, 1956
Dominick Dunne, chronicler of high-profile crimes, is born, 1925
Killer smog claims elderly victims, 1948
General Interest
Sir Walter Raleigh executed, 1618
Stock market crashes, 1929
Richard Dreyfuss born, 1947
James Boswell is born, 1740
“96 Tears” becomes a #1 hit for the enigmatic and influential ? and the Mysterians, 1966
Old West
The first store opens in the frontier town of Denver, Colorado, 1858
McKinley assassin is executed, 1901
Sandy Saddler beats Willie Pep for the first time, 1948
Vietnam War
Bobby Seale gagged during his trial, 1969
U.S. troop strength reaches five-year low, 1971
World War I
Jane Addams writes to Woodrow Wilson about dangers of preparing for war, 1915
World War II
The British protest against the persecution of Jews, 1942
This Week in History, Oct 29 – Nov 4

Oct 29, 1998
John Glenn returns to space
Oct 30, 1938
Welles scares nation
Oct 31, 1517
Martin Luther posts 95 theses
Nov 01, 1512
Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public
Nov 02, 1947
Spruce Goose flies
Nov 03, 1964
D.C. residents cast first presidential votes
Nov 04, 1956
Soviets put brutal end to Hungarian revolution

One thought on “On This Date: October 29th

  1. Pingback: Jumble Spoiler – 11/03/11 « Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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