Mercury astronaut John Glenn poses in front of the Mercury 7 memorial near Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Glenn and Carpenter launched from the pad on Atlas rockets inside Mercury capsules in 1962. The two astronauts, part of the original class of seven astronauts chosen by NASA, were taking part in events celebrating 50 years of Americans in orbit, an era which began with Glenn’s Mercury mission MA-6, on Feb. 20, 1962. Glenn’s launch aboard an Atlas rocket took with it the hopes of an entire nation and ushered in a new era of space travel that eventually led to Americans walking on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Glenn soon was followed into orbit by Carpenter, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper. Their fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom flew earlier suborbital flights. Deke Slayton was grounded by a medical condition until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.
Photo Credit: NASA/ Cory Huston