Kids, this is what a stud looks like as he gets older.
Start with astronaut John Glenn in 1962, going through pre-flight checks before blasting off to orbit the Earth aboard Friendship 7. He was 40 years old. Astronaut protocol, then and now, demands that you put your hide on the line with a smile on your face. That’s cool.
When it all goes right, you get a parade with the president and a general — in this case, John F. Kennedy and Gen. Leighton Davis.
If you play it right, you can also parlay your fame into a job as a U.S. senator. John Glenn was elected in 1974 and served four terms as a senator from Ohio. This official portrait was taken about 1989.
Glenn went into orbit again in 1998, this time as part of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery. NASA claimed they had important astro-gerontological experiments to conduct, but let’s be honest: they sent him up as a lark, as a publicity stunt, as a way to keep Congressional cash flowing, and as a tribute to an old space dog. Fine! He earned it.
“On the morning that John Glenn blasted off into space, America stood still. And for half an hour, the phones stopped ringing in Chicago police headquarters, and New York subway drivers offered a play-by-play account over the loudspeakers. President Kennedy interrupted a breakfast with congressional leaders and joined 100 million TV viewers to hear the famous words, ‘Godspeed, John Glenn.'”
Glenn turns 91 next month. That’s what you get with clean living and a little orbit now and then.
Bonus question: This is the lapel pin John Glenn wore when he was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Anyone know what it is?