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John Glenn, the last Mercury astronaut, dies

John GlennThe last living member of the original Mercury astronaut group, former Senator John Glenn, dies at the age of 95. Born in 1921, Glenn was a decorated combat pilot who flew during World War II and the Korean War, before turning his piloting skills to testing experimental aircraft. This brought him to NASA’s attention, and he made the first orbital flight by an American astronaut in 1962. Upon returning from that historic flight, he was removed from NASA’s flight rotation by the request of President Kennedy, who didn’t want to risk the life of a national hero. Glenn then turned to the equally high-stakes world of politics, first running for Congress in 1964, but not winning a Senate seat until 1974. Glenn remained in Congress through 1998, at which point he finally returned to orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery, the oldest space traveler to have done so.

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