NASA Remembers Astronaut John Glenn on his 100th Birthday – First American to Orbit the Planet

John Glenn was born on July 18, 1921

In this image taken in November 1961, Glenn – wearing an iconic silver pressure suit – is being prepared to enter the altitude chamber for simulation training. In a scant three months he was make his historic flight. (NASA Image)

(NASA) – John Glenn changed the history of spaceflight for the U.S., becoming the first American to orbit the planet. Others of our country’s astronauts had been to space but Glenn was the first to actually orbit the planet we call home.

He also changed the language, adding a Yiddish term – glitch – to our lexicon. He wasn’t by training a wordsmith like Shakespeare or a musician (who often change the way in which language is used through song) but change it he did.

According to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine: “Chutzpah. Kibitz. Klutz. Maven. Schmooze. Tush. These are words derived from Yiddish that have worked their way into the American idiom. Most were introduced through entertainment—radio, television, literature—by descendants of Yiddish-speaking immigrants who found no English words adequate to describe what they were trying to express. One word derived from Yiddish, glitch, was also introduced in radio, and found its way to the world of electrical engineering and, from there, to the hallowed halls of 1960s NASA, and thence, everywhere.”

In this image taken in November 1961, Glenn – wearing an iconic silver pressure suit – is being prepared to enter the altitude chamber for simulation training. In a scant three months he was make his historic flight.

John Glenn was born on July 18, 1921. As we remember him on what would have been his 100th birthday, remember he was an amazing pilot and popularizer of new terms of expression.

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