First American in Orbit was John
Glenn. He was launched in February 20 1962 in the Friendship7
Fifty years after
John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth, NASA no
longer has the ability to fly astronauts in space, a decision
Glenn lays squarely on the shoulders of the Bush administration.
Glenn's groundbreaking flight on Feb. 20, 1962, put the United
States into a heated space race with the Soviet Union, which had
launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit 10 months earlier.
The retirement of the shuttles in 2011 left the United States
dependent on its former Cold War foe to get astronauts to and from
the jointly owned International Space Station, which flies about
240 miles (385 km) above the planet.
50 Years in Space Anniversary
NASA’s celebration of Glenn’s three-orbit, five-hour flight aboard
the Friendship 7 capsule began Friday 17 Februaryd 2012 at Cape Canaveral.
The festivities move to Columbus, Ohio, Monday, the actual
anniversary. Glenn was honored at a gala at Ohio State
University; the school of public affairs bears his name.
His wife of 68 years, Annie, now 92 and their two children are
accompanied him to all the festivities.
Glenn served in the U.S. Senate for 24 years, representing his
home state of Ohio. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984.
He returned to space in 1998 aboard shuttle Discovery, becoming
the oldest spaceman ever at age 77.
More than 1,000 people — including 200 Project Mercury veterans —
gathered at Kennedy Space Center with legendary astronauts John
Glenn and Scott Carpenter on Saturday to celebrate the golden
anniversary of America's first two orbital human space
Did you know?
* As of February 2012, John
Glenn and fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter, 86, are the lone
survivors of NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts.
* Oldest person to fly in space,
at age 77 aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1998. U.S. senator for
four terms and one-time presidential candidate. Namesake of a NASA
center as well as a university's school of public affairs.
This was the first spacecraft in
space. It was the USA's competitor - the Soviet Union.
Cold War Anxiety: The
first human made object is put into orbit around earth (Picture 19
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