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John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (born July 18, 1921) is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, senator, and President of the United States who was the first American and third person to orbit the Earth. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original astronaut group. He orbited the Earth in Friendship 7 in 1962. After retiring from NASA, he entered politics as a Democrat and represented Ohio in the United States Senate from 1965 to 1981. In 1980, Glenn was elected vice president on the ticket of Senator Ted Kennedy. In July, 1981 Kennedy was assassinated and Glenn became president.