A weightless applesauce tube floats free following a snack by astronaut John Glenn in the course of his first orbit during the Mercury "Friendship 7" mission on February 20, 1962.
On Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn rode the Friendship 7 capsule into space, the first time an American orbited the Earth. In this image, Glenn enters the capsule with assistance from technicians.
Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. dons his silver Mercury pressure suit in preparation for launch. On February 20, 1962 Glenn lifted off into space aboard his Mercury Atlas (MA-6) rocket and became the first American to orbit the Earth. After orbiting the Earth 3 times, Friendship 7 landed in the Atlantic Ocean 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds later, just East of Grand Turk Island in the Bahamas. Glenn and his capsule were recovered by the Navy Destroyer Noa, 21 minutes after splashdown.
This image shows the launch of Friendship 7, the first American manned orbital space flight. With astronaut John Glenn aboard, the Mercury-Atlas rocket is launched from Pad 14, February 20, 1962.
Project Mercury Astronauts, whose selection was announced on April 9, 1959. They are: front row, left to right, Walter H. Schirra, Jr., Donald K. Slayton, John H. Glenn, Jr., and Scott Carpenter; back row, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Virgil I. Gus Grissom, and L. Gordon Cooper.
Fellow Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom (in suit) wishes Shepard good luck as he gets set to climb into his Mercury capsule, dubbed Freedom 7, on the morning of May 5, 1961. Glenn looks on in the background.
Bearded, with makeshift clothing, the seven original Mercury astronauts participated in U.S. Air Force survival training at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. Pictured in this 1960 photograph are (l to r): L. Gordon Cooper, M. Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Virgil I. Grissom, Walter Schirra and Donald K. Slayton.
John Glenn on Feb. 20, 2002 -- the 40th anniversary of his Project Mercury flight aboard Friendship 7.
Former astronaut and retired Ohio Sen. John Glenn testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Science and Technology Committee hearing on NASA's past accomplishments, and future opportunities and challenges, marking 50th anniversary of NASA.
The seven crew members in training for the STS-95 mission aboard Discovery pose for photographers prior to participating in a training session at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Pictured, from the left, are Pedro Duque, Curtis Brown, Chiaki Nauto-Mukai, then-U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn Jr. (D.-Ohio), Stephen Robinson, Steven Lindsey and Scott Parazynski.
In the launch pad's White Room, STS-95 Payload Specialist John H. Glenn Jr., U.S. Senator from Ohio, has his flight suit checked by closeout crew members before climbing into space shuttle Discovery for his second flight into space, which came 36 years after his Mercury launch. Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. The image was taken Oct. 29, 1998.
STS-95 crewmember, astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn. Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth and returned to space in 1998 aboard a Space Shuttle flight.
The STS-95 mission carrying Senator John Glenn launched on October 29, 1998
STS-95 payload specialist John Glenn works with the Osteporosis Experiment in Orbit (OSTEO) experiment located in a locker in the Discovery's middeck.
STS-95 Payload Specialist John Glenn positions himself to take photos from the Discovery's aft flight deck windows on Flight Day 3.
Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. in his silver Mercury spacesuit during pre-flight training activities at Cape Canaveral. On February 20, 1962 Glenn lifted off into space aboard his Mercury Atlas (MA-6) rocket and became the first American to orbit the Earth. After orbiting the Earth 3 times, Friendship 7 landed in the Atlantic Ocean 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds later, just East of Grand Turk Island in the Bahamas. Glenn and his capsule were recovered by the Navy Destroyer Noa, 21 minutes after splashdown.
Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., pilot of the Mercury-Atlas 6 earth-orbital space mission, confers with Astronaut Nurse Dolores B. O'Hara, R.N., during MA-6 prelaunch preparations.
Second cosmonaut German Titov (right) appears with NASA astronaut John Glenn and President John Kennedy at the White House in 1962. Titov was in Washington to give his account of the Vostok 2 spaceflight to the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). The twenty-five-year-old Titov was the youngest person to ever go into space - a record that still stands to this day.
John Glenn, official portrait, 1959.
Glenn spent hours in the Mercury Procedures Trainer at NASA Langley.
John Glenn explains a feature of the Mercury capsule to his wife, Annie, during one of her visits to NASA Langley in 1959.
John Glenn, standing next to his Friendship 7 capsule in which he made his historic orbital flight, meets with President John F. Kennedy. Mrs. Glenn stands next to her husband. Earlier that day, President Kennedy presented the NASA Distinguished Service Award to Glenn.
Sen. John Glenn speaks to guests at NASA's Future Forum at Ohio State University on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Glenn's historic flight. Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth.
Sen. John Glenn, left, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speak to guests at NASA's Future Forum at Ohio State University on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Glenn's historic flight. Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, seated right, and Sen. John Glenn address questions from the press during a briefing at Ohio State University as John Glenn's wife Annie Glenn, seated in red, looks on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Glenn's historic flight. Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth.
This panoramic view of Florida unfolded beneath astronaut John Glenn at the start of the third orbit during his historic spaceflight fifty years ago. On February 20, 1962, Glenn orbited the Earth in the Friendship 7 spacecraft, becoming the first American to achieve such a feat. In this photograph taken by Glenn out of the porthole, the Georgia border lies at right, under clouds, while Florida stretches out horizontally. The Earth lay 162 miles (260 kilometers) below.