Collection Item Summary:
These unused 35 mm film rolls and canisters were carried in the cockpit of Friendship 7, the Mercury capsule in which John H. Glenn 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. During the flight he also took the first photographs of the Earth made by an American astronaut in space, but he was very busy attending to other problems and did not take many pictures. Glenn splashed down in the Atlantic 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds after launch.
In 1962, NASA transferred Friendship 7 to the Smithsonian Institution, along with a number of astronaut and cockpit items.