The Who2 Blog

Five Photos of John Glenn Getting Older

Photo of John Glenn in a silver space suit, ready for launch

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.

Photo of John Glenn in the back seat of a convertible limo, between John Kennedy and a general

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

John Glenn in a blue suit and red tie in an official photo, now balding

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.

Photo of John Glenn in a bright orange shuttle space suit

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.

Photo of John Glenn standing proudly as Barack Obama drapes a fancy medal on a blue ribbon around his neck

And here he was last week, getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The president remarked:

“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.

Photo of a shiny gold pin that looks like an oil rig or maybe a space rocket gantry

Bonus question: This is the lapel pin John Glenn wore when he was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Anyone know what it is?

See our John Glenn biography »
 

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  • We still don’t know what that pin is! Looks like it might be an old Mercury 7 pin of some kind, though?

  • It’s the NASA Astronaut gold lapel pin usually awarded to veterans from the space program. http://www.usskidd.com/halsell.html

    • Ah! Thank you! That was the explanation we needed.

      Wikipedia has more on it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronaut_badge#NASA_astronaut_pins

      “The pin is issued in two grades, silver and gold, with the silver pin awarded to candidates who have successfully completed astronaut training and the gold pin to astronauts who have actually flown in space. Astronaut candidates are given silver pins but are required to purchase the gold pin at a cost of approximately $400.”

      I also didn’t know that astronauts had those kinds of military-style bars for the National Astronaut Leadership Medal and such. Thanks for the excellent comment.

      • Amazing! I had no idea astronauts are required to BUY the gold version?? I mean, they’ve been to space for crying out loud, lol

        • I have to agree. You should at least get one free and then if you get sloppy and lose it, you have to pay for the replacement. 🙂