On Feb. 20, 1962, NASA launched an astronaut into orbit around the Earth for the first time.
John Glenn was the third American to launch into space and the third human to orbit Earth. Two Soviet cosmonauts had orbited Earth before him. He blasted off from Cape Canaveral in a Mercury spacecraft named Friendship 7 and circled the Earth three times.
The mission lasted close to 5 hours. After a bumpy re-entry, Friendship 7 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 miles away from where it was supposed to land. But all’s well that ends well, and John Glenn went down in history as an American hero.
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