RIP John Glenn. What is the legacy of the space hero?

What is the legacy of John Glenn for the space exploration? And maybe it is a moment when we think if we should boldly go where no man has gone before. Should we? Read few comments.

John Glenn (1921 - 2016) Credit: http://www.nasa.gov

John Glenn (1921 – 2016) Credit: http://www.nasa.gov

John Logsdon, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs, Space Policy Institute, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

John Glenn was a true pioneer. Together with Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, he opened Earth orbit to human presence. Without Glenn’s 1962 flight, the United States may not have been able just over seven years later to send Americans to the Moon. The U.S.-Soviet space cooperation that followed Glenn’s flight laid the foundation of lasting cooperative relations which persist today.

Glenn’s passing, together with the death of Neil Armstrong four years ago, takes away symbols of U.S. space achievement. Glenn was bold in 1962; the United States, indeed the world, needs more bold men and women to chart the paths to a new time of space exploration.

Mike GruntmanProfessor of Astronautics, University of Southern California

Passing of John Glenn closes an entire era. He was the last surviving astronaut of the Mercury Seven, the group of the very first U.S. astronauts. The flight of John Glenn inspired many young Americans to choose science and engineering as their profession.

He was also an example of serving his country. A combat pilot during WWII and the Korean War, and later serving for many years as Senator. At age 77, he flew again to space, this time on a Space Shuttle Discovery and became the oldest person to orbit the Earth. What a story.

The U.S. space program is at the crossroads today, with human spaceflight facing uncertainty in particular. Being rudderless for several years did not help in exciting the public and getting its support which is essential for leading space exploration.  A rapidly expanding space program of China and rebuilding its capabilities Russia make the space field especially competitive and worry many in the United States.

Passing of John Glenn will bring reflection on the current state of the U.S. space program. It is a great opportunity for the new American administration to celebrate the life of John Glenn and focus the country on restoring its leadership in space exploration, part of the effort to make America great again.

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