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

  • Caitlin Ochs / Reuters

    Water Levels in Lake Mead Reach Record Lows

    Images of Lake Mead, which has reached its lowest water levels since the 1930s

  • Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty

    Scenes From Svalbard

    Recent images of the landscapes and inhabitants of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean

  • Serhii Nuzhnenko / Reuters

    Photos From Russia’s Ongoing Invasion of Ukraine

    Recent images of the war and resistance in Chernihiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kyiv, and more

  • Rodrigo Garrido / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Snake Saint, Magic Fountain, Corgi Puppets

    Patriots’ Victory Day in Ethiopia, scenes from the Met Gala, Children’s Day in Japan, images from Ukraine, a wildfire in New Mexico, and much more