The Historic Flight of Mercury 6

Yesterday, February 20th, marked the 49th anniversary of Astronaut John Glenn's historic 1962 flight aboard the NASA spacecraft Friendship 7 -- when he became the first American (and third human being) to orbit the Earth. After being postponed ten times, the launch finally boosted Glenn into space, where he made three successful orbits at 17,400 miles per hour, returning safely home to a national celebration. Decades later, in 1998, Glenn ventured into space one more time, at age 77 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, to study the effects of space flight on the elderly. Below are images gathered from NASA's early Mercury Project, which lead up to Glenn's famous journey.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

    The Spectacular Seda Monastery

    High in a treeless valley in China's remote Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture lies the largest Tibetan Buddhist school in the world.

  • Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

    An Oil Spill Fouls the California Coastline

    A pipeline burst yesterday, spilling an estimated 21,000 gallons (79,500 liters) of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara.

  • USGS / Robert Krimmel

    The Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 35 Years Ago

    On May 18, 1980, 35 years ago today, an earthquake struck below the north face of Mount St. Helens in Washington state, triggering the largest landslide in recorded history, and a major volcanic eruption that scattered ash across a dozen states.

  • Taylor Weidman / Getty Images

    Photos of the Week: 5/9-5/15

    This week, we have photographs of jet-men flying over Dubai, a spring snowstorm in Colorado, archery in the Amazon, airstrikes in Yemen, rebuilding in Nepal, migrant ships adrift in the Andaman sea and the Mediterranean, B-25 bombers over Washington, D.C., the Victory Day parade in Moscow, and much more.

Join the Discussion