Flags fly at half-staff in tribute to John Glenn

Flag at Capitol
A flag flies at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (House of Representatives Photo)

American flags around the world will be flying at half-staff for the next few days in memory of John Glenn, the pioneering astronaut and long-serving senator who died Dec. 8 at the age of 95.

The traditional order was given today in a proclamation from President Barack Obama. The half-staff order applies until sunset on the day of Glenn’s interment, the timing of which has not yet been announced.

Glenn made history in 1962 as the first NASA astronaut to circle the planet – as a follow-up to Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s orbital feat a year earlier, plus two U.S. suborbital spaceflights.

That’s not his only claim to fame. In 1957, as a Marine Corps aviator, Glenn broke the transcontinental flight speed record (which has been broken several times since then). In 1974, he became the first spaceflier to get elected to the U.S. Senate. And in 1998, he became the oldest human in space when he flew on the shuttle Discovery at the age of 77.

As news spread of his death in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, accolades flooded in from all over the world. We’ve already passed along a lot of Twitter tributes, but here are a few more…

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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