Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., pilot of the Mercury Atlas 6 (MA-6) spaceflight, poses for a photo with the Mercury “Friendship 7” spacecraft during preflight activities. On Feb. 20, 1962, Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 “Friendship 7” spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States. Launched from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., he completed a successful three-orbit mission around the earth, reaching a maximum altitude (apogee) of approximately 162 statute miles and an orbital velocity of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Glenn’s “Friendship 7” Mercury spacecraft landed approximately 800 miles southeast of KSC in the vicinity of Grand Turk Island. Mission duration from launch to impact was 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.
Image Credit: NASA