#97-16234 by Eric Long
First American to orbit the Earth.
| Date of Milestone:
February 20, 1962
Mercury "Friendship 7"
John H. Glenn Jr.
| Spacecraft Location:
Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum, Milestones
of Flight gallery
The Mercury spacecraft in which astronaut
John H. Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth.
On February 20, 1962, Glenn circled the Earth three times.
The space flight lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes. "Friendship
7" landed in the Atlantic Ocean.
interior - 82k JPEG
Smithsonian photograph #97-162356 by Eric Long
The first person to travel in space, making
one orbit on April 12, 1961, was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin,
followed in August by another cosmonaut Gherman S. Titov, who spent
17 orbits in space. Also in 1961, American astronauts Alan B. Shepard
Jr. and Virgil I. Grissom achieved suborbital flights to altitudes
above 160 kilometers (100 miles). Nevertheless, with this flight
John Glenn became a national hero, and Americans gained confidence
that they could compete successfully in space with the Soviet Union.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
||2.7 m (9 ft)
||1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)
||1,300 kg (2,900 lb)
||McDonnell Aircraft Corp. for NASA
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