HOSUTON (NASA PR) — In 1961, the United States and the Soviet Union found themselves in a race to put the first human being into space. The United States initiated Project Mercury in 1958 to put the first American into space and selected its first group of astronauts in 1959 to begin training for that mission. The Soviets kept their plans secret but began their own human spaceflight program and selected their own team of 20 cosmonauts in 1960.
The Soviets won the race in April 1961 when cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin completed a single orbit around the Earth aboard his Vostok capsule. On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard became the first American in space during a suborbital flight aboard his Mercury capsule named Freedom 7. Three weeks later, based on the success of Shepard’s brief flight, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to achieving a lunar landing before the end of the decade.
Deadlinereports Disney+ has canceled The Right Stuff, the poorly received television adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s classic book of the same name. Unless Warner Bros. Television, which produced the series, can convince another network to fund a second season, the woebegone show will become a historical footnote about a real historical era.
I managed to catch several episodes recently, and I was profoundly unimpressed. It made going to space a rather dull affair. What were the problems? Let me count the ways.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — Northrop Grumman is proud to name the NG-15 Cygnus spacecraft after former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus spacecraft after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight. Johnson’s hand-written calculations were critical for John Glenn’s successful orbital mission around the Earth.
Johnson was born on August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Her parents enrolled her in high school on the campus of West Virginia State College at the age of 10 because their home county did not offer public schooling for black students past eighth grade. Upon graduating from high school at the age of 14, Johnson enrolled at West Virginia State, where she took every math class offered by the school, causing professors to create additional courses just for her.
Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly has won election to the U.S. Senate from the state of Arizona, joining a small group of space explorers subsequently elected to serve in Congress.
The Associated Press reports that with 83 percent of the votes in, Kelly has 1,444,645 votes (52.6 percent) while Republican Sen. Martha McSally trails with 1,300,119 votes (47.4 percent). Kelly has declared victory and McSally has conceded the race.
Kelly, a Democrat who flew aboard the space shuttle four times, and McSally competed in a special election to fill the last two years of the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s six year term.
The following is a statement on the passing of Annie Glenn, wife of former NASA astronaut Sen. John Glenn:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Annie Glenn. A stalwart member of the space and military communities, her courageous support of her legendary husband John was unmatched.
“She provided an example for other women who followed to face the challenges of being part of our nation’s space program, and the stress of having spouses in combat. She stood steadfastly by her husband as he took to space once again as the oldest person to orbit Earth, even as she continued her own lifelong public service on behalf of children, the elderly, and the disabled.
“The Glenns dedication to each other is well known, and we looked to them as an unmatched example of the strength and compassion that a lifetime of devotion creates. She will be missed.”
WASHINGTON,DC (NAA PR) – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is pleased to announce that Major General Michael Collins has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy for … “his lifelong dedication to aerospace and public service in the highest order, both as a pioneering astronaut and inspired director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.”
Established by NAA in 1948 to honor the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the trophy is awarded annually to a living American for “…significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.” One of the most important, historic, and visible aerospace awards in the world, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy reflects a timeline of the most innovative inventors, explorers, industrialists, and public servants in aeronautics and astronautics.
By Bob Granath NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida
The International Space Station serves as the world’s leading orbital laboratory where crews conduct cutting-edge research and technology development. A crucial resupply line of spacecraft keeps work going that will enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit.
By Steven Siceloff, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida
A supply spacecraft set to carry thousands of pounds of experiments and equipment to the International Space Station will also carry the name John Glenn, Orbital ATK said Thursday during a ceremony dedicating the mission to the first American to orbit the Earth.
The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the passing of Sen. John Glenn:
“Today, the first American to orbit the Earth, NASA astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn, passed away. We mourn this tremendous loss for our nation and the world. As one of NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts, Glenn’s riveting flight aboard Friendship 7 on Feb. 20, 1962, united our nation, launched America to the forefront of the space race, and secured for him a unique place in the annals of history.
“While that first orbit was the experience of a lifetime, Glenn, who also had flown combat missions in both World War II and the Korean War as a Marine aviator, continued to serve his country as a four-term Senator from Ohio, as a trusted statesman, and an educator. In 1998, at the age of 77, he became the oldest human to venture into space as a crew member on the Discovery space shuttle — once again advancing our understanding of living and working in space.
“He earned many honors for both his military and public service achievements. In 2012, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the country can bestow, and he also received the Congressional Gold Medal.
“Glenn’s extraordinary courage, intellect, patriotism and humanity were the hallmarks of a life of greatness. His missions have helped make possible everything our space program has since achieved and the human missions to an asteroid and Mars that we are striving toward now.
“With all his accomplishments, he was always focused on the young people of today, who would soon lead the world. ‘The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel,’ he said. ‘To me, there is no greater calling … If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I’ve accomplished something.’
“Senator Glenn’s legacy is one of risk and accomplishment, of history created and duty to country carried out under great pressure with the whole world watching. The entire NASA Family will be forever grateful for his outstanding service, commitment and friendship. Personally, I shall miss him greatly. As a fellow Marine and aviator, he was a mentor, role model and, most importantly, a dear friend. My prayers go out to his lovely and devoted wife, Annie, and the entire Glenn family at this time of their great loss.”
For more information about Glenn’s NASA career, and his agency biography, visit:
Sad to report that former NASA astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to fly into orbit in 1962, has passed away in an Ohio hospital. He was 95 years old.
In addition to flying Friendship 7 in the Project Mercury, Glenn became the oldest person to travel into space when he joined the STS-95 space shuttle crew on a nearly 9-day orbital mission in 1998.
At the time of his second and final spaceflight, Glenn was a United States Senator from Ohio. He served in the Senate from December 1974 to January 1999.
Glenn was the last of NASA’s Original 7 astronauts to pass away. Scott Carpenter died in 2013 at the age of 88.
My deepest sympathies to his wife, Annie, and his family and friends.
President Barack Obama issued a statement today on Glenn’s passing.
Statement by the President 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.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was presented the Excellence in Public Service Award Thursday by former Senator and astronaut John Glenn on behalf of the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
“As NASA Administrator, Charlie has charted America’s future in space, leading NASA’s strategic efforts to fully utilize the International Space Station and launch our astronauts beyond low Earth orbit,” Glenn said. “Throughout his career of public service, he has inspired a generation of future astronauts, researchers and innovators who are using what we learn in space to improve life here on Earth.”
“I always have believed that service is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth, so it is an honor for me to accept this award from Sen. Glenn and the School of Public Affairs,” Bolden said. “The John Glenn School of Public Affairs is the starting point for the young people here for making the commitment to public service. Nothing is more important than the path they have chosen.”
The Excellence in Public Service Award honors a person who demonstrates outstanding dedication to public service.