One of the greatest men in the history of the United States space program passed away earlier this week. John Glenn was the first American to orbit the moon back in 1962 in a mission that was groundbreaking for the future of space exploration. He died on Thursday, December 8 at the age of 95. Discovery has found the perfect way to honor his contributions to science and space exploration. The network will air a special encore presentation of an episode of When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions on December 11.
When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions was a six-part HD documentary produced by Discovery in 2008 to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the space program. The documentary brought together pioneers of NASA like John Glenn and Neil Armstrong to provide firsthand accounts of what happened in the early days of space travel. The episode airing to honor John Glenn will be the first in the series, called "Ordinary Supermen." The hour-long episode will provide an in-depth look at what Glenn experienced during his time aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft.
The encore presentation of the episode will air on Sunday, December 11 at 9 a.m. ET on Discovery. It should be a fitting tribute to a man whose impact on the scientific community is still felt today. His orbit of the moon in 1962 was also a major victory for the U.S. in the Cold War space race against the Soviet Union for outer space supremacy.
In addition to his work as an astronaut, he was an accomplished fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. Following his retirement from NASA in 1964, he ran for and was elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Ohio. Incredibly, he held his seat in the Senate for nearly 25 years. During his time as a senator, he also worked as the chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. He died in the state that he worked so hard for so long to better at an Ohio State University hospital.
Discovery isn't the only source of tribute to John Glenn in the wake of his death. Famous folks ranging from Tom Hanks to Buzz Aldrin to President Obama took to Twitter on Thursday to honor him. News outlets in Glenn's native Ohio aired segments to commemorate his work in the space program as well as to Ohio during his decades of public service. He won't be forgotten as long as people remain interested in the missions into space and the men who started it all back in the 1960s.