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

  • Stephen Yang / Getty

    Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Burn Their Camp Ahead of Evacuation

    For months, protesters have camped in the frigid North Dakota winter, opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Recently, state officials ordered them to evacuate the campground, located on federal land, due to spring flooding.

  • Manu Fernandez / AP

    A Weekend of Protest

    Over the past few days, thousands and thousands of citizens around the world marched through the streets, voicing their opposition to, or support for, dozens of issues.

  • Jessica Chou

    Americans at Work: The Gig Economy

    This week, our “Americans at Work photo essay features photographs of millennial freelancers living in Los Angeles made by photographer Jessica Chou.

  • Gleb Garanich / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 2/11–2/17

    An overflowing dam in California, the Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival in Taiwan, Beyonce at the Grammys, Carnival in Venice, protests in Romania, and much more.

Join the Discussion