• Friendship 7: celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit

    Date:21 February 2012 Tags:

    On 20 February 1962, John Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 “Friendship 7” spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States.

    Launched from Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, he completed a successful three-orbit mission around the Earth, reaching a maximum altitude (apogee) of approximately 261 kilometres and an orbital velocity of approximately 28 100 km/h.

    Glenn’s “Friendship 7” Mercury spacecraft landed approximately 1 300 km southeast of KSC in the vicinity of Grand Turk Island. Mission duration from launch to impact was 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds.

    In this video, Nasa celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first orbital flight by Mercury astronaut John Glenn with a look back at the images from the Mercury era…

    More about the Mercury Program:
    Initiated in 1958, completed in 1963, Project Mercury was the United States’ first man-in-space program. The objectives of the program, which made six manned flights from 1961 to 1963, were specific:
    * To orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth
    * To investigate man’s ability to function in space
    * To recover both men and spacecraft safely.

    Credit: Nasa

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