First American astronaut in orbit John Glenn dies, aged 95

Former astronaut John Glenn. Picture: AP

Former astronaut John Glenn. Picture: AP

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John Glenn - the first American to orbit the Earth - has died in Ohio, aged 95.

Glenn became a national hero in 1962 when he became the first American astronaut in orbit.

Hank Wilson with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs says Glenn died Thursday afternoon at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus.

Glenn was the third U.S. astronaut in space and the first of them to get into orbit. He circled the Earth three times. The Soviet Union had put a man into orbit a year earlier in 1961. Glenn then spent 24 years as a Democrat from Ohio in the Senate and briefly made a run for president in 1984. He returned to space in 1998, at age 77, aboard shuttle Discovery.