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

  • Renaud Philippe

    Rebuilding Nepal by Hand

    The photographer Renaud Philippe returned to the epicenter of last year’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake to document what progress has been made in some of the hardest-to-reach villages.

  • Christian Charisius / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: 4/23-4/29

    A shepherd pulls a lamb into the sea in Gaza City, President Obama meets Prince George in London, the aftermath of Ecuador’s earthquake, and much more.

  • 2016 Audubon Photography Awards

    Spectacular wildlife photography: the winners and runners-up from the 2016 Audubon Photography Awards competition.

  • U.S. National Archives

    Bamboo Bombers and Stone Tanks—Japanese Decoys Used in World War II

    While researching World War II images at the U.S. National Archives, I came across several photos I had not seen before, of Japanese dummy aircrafts made of bamboo and wood planking.

Join the Discussion