Capsule, Mercury, MA-6

In this historic capsule, John H. Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn's flight was the third manned mission of Project Mercury, following two suborbital flights by astronauts in 1961. Glenn's three-orbit mission on February 20, 1962, was a sterling success, as he overcame problems with the automatic control system that would have ended an unmanned flight. But reentry was tense, as a faulty telemetry signal from the spacecraft indicated that the heat shield might be loose. Mission Control instructed Glenn not to jettison the retrorocket package after firing in order to better hold the heat shield in place. Glenn reentered successfully and splashed down in the Atlantic 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds after launch.

NASA transferred Friendship 7 to the Smithsonian Institution in 1963, which has exhibited it in buildings on the National Mall ever since.

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Country of Origin
United States of America

Astronaut
John H. Glenn, Jr.
Manufacturer
McDonnell Aircraft Corp.

Location
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition
Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Type
SPACECRAFT-Manned

Materials
Skin & Structure: Titanium
Heat shield: Phenolic resin, fiberglass
Shingles: Nickel-steel alloy; berylium shingles removed
Dimensions
Overall: 9 ft. 4 in. tall x 6 ft. 1 in. wide, 2987 lb. (284.5 x 185.4cm, 1354.9kg)

In this historic capsule, John H. Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn's flight was the third manned mission of Project Mercury, following two suborbital flights by astronauts in 1961. Glenn's three-orbit mission on February 20, 1962, was a sterling success, as he overcame problems with the automatic control system that would have ended an unmanned flight. But reentry was tense, as a faulty telemetry signal from the spacecraft indicated that the heat shield might be loose. Mission Control instructed Glenn not to jettison the retrorocket package after firing in order to better hold the heat shield in place. Glenn reentered successfully and splashed down in the Atlantic 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds after launch.

NASA transferred Friendship 7 to the Smithsonian Institution in 1963, which has exhibited it in buildings on the National Mall ever since.

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Country of Origin
United States of America

Astronaut
John H. Glenn, Jr.
Manufacturer
McDonnell Aircraft Corp.

Location
National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC
Exhibition
Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall

Type
SPACECRAFT-Manned

Materials
Skin & Structure: Titanium
Heat shield: Phenolic resin, fiberglass
Shingles: Nickel-steel alloy; berylium shingles removed
Dimensions
Overall: 9 ft. 4 in. tall x 6 ft. 1 in. wide, 2987 lb. (284.5 x 185.4cm, 1354.9kg)

ID: A19670176000