From The Library Of 'Life'

Unpublished Photos On John Glenn's 90th

  • Walter Schirra (left), John Glenn and the rest of the atronauts of Project Mercury — America's first effort to put humans in space — examine samples of cockpit glass during training, 1959.
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    Walter Schirra (left), John Glenn and the rest of the atronauts of Project Mercury — America's first effort to put humans in space — examine samples of cockpit glass during training, 1959.
    Hank Walker/Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Glenn, Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard with their families, Cape Canaveral, 1961.
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    Glenn, Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard with their families, Cape Canaveral, 1961.
    Ralph Morse/Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Glenn eats a meal, surrounded by media, prior to his historic February 1962 orbital flight.
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    Glenn eats a meal, surrounded by media, prior to his historic February 1962 orbital flight.
    Ralph Morse/Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Glenn, his daughter, Lyn (left), wife Annie, son David and Vice President Lyndon Johnson at Cape Canaveral in 1962, two days after his historic orbital flight in Friendship 7 and the day before he received NASA's Distinguished Service Medal from President John Kennedy.
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    Glenn, his daughter, Lyn (left), wife Annie, son David and Vice President Lyndon Johnson at Cape Canaveral in 1962, two days after his historic orbital flight in Friendship 7 and the day before he received NASA's Distinguished Service Medal from President John Kennedy.
    Ralph Morse/Courtesy of 'Life'
  • Glenn, Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, in Southern California, 1964.
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    Glenn, Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, in Southern California, 1964.
    Bill Ray/Courtesy of 'Life'
  • John Glenn flies a jet while stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Southern California, 1964.
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    John Glenn flies a jet while stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Southern California, 1964.
    Bill Ray/Courtesy of 'Life'

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John Glenn, former Marine Corps pilot and veteran, U.S. senator and, most famously, the first American to orbit the Earth, turns 90 today. To celebrate, Life has curated a gallery of never-before-published photographs from the late 1950s and early '60s — with commentary by the astronaut himself.

The photos show the American space race with Russia; the trajectory of Project Mercury, America's first human spaceflight program; Glenn just before and after his historic flight; and his announcement of candidacy for the Senate shortly thereafter. See the rest on Life's website.

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