Flag, U.S., Friendship 7


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This flag was packed inside John H. Glenn Jr.’s Friendship 7 Mercury capsule when he became the first American to orbit the Earth. 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. This flag, which apparently was packed inside the spacecraft, came with it to the Smithsonian.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • Flag: Silk, Synthetic Fabric (thread)
  • New Case: Plastic, Silk, Batting, Steel, Adhesive
  • Original Case: Plastic, Wood, Paint, Cardboard, Adhesive


  • 2-D - Unframed (H x W) (Flag): 19.1 x 30.5cm (7 1/2 in. x 12 in.)
  • Support (New Case): 1ft 6in. x 1ft x 3/4in. (45.72 x 30.48 x 1.91cm)
  • Storage (Original Case): 1ft 1/2in. x 1ft 1/2in. x 1 3/4in. (31.75 x 31.75 x 4.45cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number