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.