The film chronicles the real-life battle three female African-American mathematicians faced to become part of the NASA mission to launch Glenn into space in 1962.

Taraji, Janelle, and Octavia Spencer portray the women at the centre of the story, and the actresses honoured Glenn as they hit the red carpet at the Big Apple screening, which was held just two days after the astronaut's death.

"He's a hero," Janelle remarked. "John Glenn was always on the right side of history. During a time when these women, because of their gender and the colour of their skin, were often times treated like second-class citizens, he extended his hand out, and he trusted women, and women of colour, with his life."

Taraji, who portrays Katherine Johnson in the film, hailed Glenn for representing what it means to be a good American by fighting to break down the race and gender barriers in a bid to have the mathematics geniuses, known as "computers", work on his historic mission to become the first American to orbit the earth.

She told The Associated Press, "When he decided to shake the coloured computers' hands, he told them their lives matter. And in turn, Katherine told him his life mattered as she made it a point to get those numbers right, so he could come back home and see his family. So that's what it's all about. It's about pushing, putting our differences aside, and getting to a common goal. And that's moving humanity forward."

Actor Glen Powell, who plays the late spaceman onscreen, revealed he regrets not having had the opportunity to meet the man himself prior to his passing on Wednesday (08Dec16), at the age of 95.

"We were attempting to try to set that meeting up," he shared. "He was very ill for, like, the past year. So he was in Ohio, and we never got a chance to meet him. But I will say that I've done enough research on John Glenn to truly understand the man and come to love him even more. So it's a tragic loss, but, at the same time, he lived 95 amazing years. I don't think there's a human being on the planet that inspired more lives and more generations."

And Jim Parsons, who portrays fellow astronaut Tom Stafford in the film, lamented the timing of Glenn's loss.

"What's so interesting about and sad and touching about him passing away right as this movie is coming out is that we are introducing three other major faces of that exact same movement," The Big Bang Theory star mused. "As the film shows, John Glenn was one of the people who let one of these women into the room at a time when that wasn't being allowed."