On this day in 1962, John Glenn is launched into space aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first orbital flight by an American astronaut.
On February 23 that same year, President John F. Kennedy visited him at Cape Canaveral. Glenn later addressed Congress and received a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Later, On October 29, 1998, nearly four decades after his famous orbital flight, the 77-year-old Glenn became the oldest human ever to travel in space. In 1999, he retired from the U.S. Senate after four consecutive terms in office for the state of Ohio.
During an interview in November of 1998 Glenn said:
“I pray every day and I think everybody should. I don’t think you can be up here and look out the window as I did the first day and look out at the Earth from this vantage point. We’re not so high compared to people who went to the moon and back. But to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”