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

  • Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Prehistoric Tongue, First Snow, Panda Scan

    Autumn colors in Belgium; chess-boxing in Paris; dinosaurs in India; bushfires in Australia; impeachment hearings in Washington, D.C.; Santa Claus in Germany; tennis in London, and much more

  • NASA

    The Flight of Apollo 12: Photos From 50 Years Ago

    A look back at the second mission to land humans on the moon, which blasted off on November 14, 1969.

  • Stefano Mazzola / Awakening / Getty

    Venice Underwater: The Highest Tide in 50 Years

    A record-setting acqua alta has left much of Venice submerged, following stormy conditions blowing in from the Adriatic Sea.

  • Muhammad Anuar bin Jamal / Shutterstock

    The Magic of Fall Colors

    Bundle up, maybe grab a mug of hot cider, and enjoy this batch of recent fall photos.