50th Anniversary of Friendship 7

First American in Obit

The Friendship 7 spacecraft on February 20, 1962, on boarded was John Glenn. This was America’s first manned orbital flight. It was part of NASA’s Project Mercury and designated as flight MA-6. The Mercury spacecraft was called Friendship 7 and launched into orbit on top of an Atlas LV-3B rocket from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

During the flight Mercury Control became concerned the spacecrafts heat shield. The Hawaiian tracking station asked Glenn to check the landing bag deploy switch. Finally it was decided that as percussion to keep the retro pack in place during reentry so as to hold the heat shield in place if it was indeed loose. The flight lasted 4 hours and 56 minutes Ending with a splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and being recovered by the USS Noa.

Friendship 7 today at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
GNU Free Documentation License

Today February 20, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the historical flight. As we commemorate this anniversary we look forward to the future and while it some what sad that at this point the U.S. does not have an operational manned spacecraft, this will change in a few years when Space X launches a manned carrying version of their dragon space craft.


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