Portrait Captures John Glenn Preparing for History-making Mission

WASHINGTON — Astronaut-statesman John Glenn who died Thursday at age 95 will lie in state in Ohio for a public viewing to celebrate the life of the first man to orbit the Earth in 1962 turned long-serving U.S. senator.

Closer to the D.C. area, a portrait capturing a reflective moment as Glenn prepared for the 1998 history-making Discovery mission, is once again on public view.

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has installed the portrait of Glenn by artist Henry C. Caselli Jr. in its “in memoriam” space.

The water and graphite portrait depicts Glenn, then 77, his head bowed in contemplation ahead of the nine-day mission during which he would become the oldest astronaut to reach space.

Glenn was then still a sitting U.S. senator.

Caselli, the artist, was commissioned to create the paintings “to record for posterity the flight preparations,” according to his website.

Casselli was previously invited to serve as one of NASA’s “official artists” in the early 1980s to document preparations for the first space shuttle program.

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