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Photos: John Glenn, First American in Orbit

John Glenn with President Kennedy

NASA

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.

50th Anniversary of the First Orbit of Earth by an American

NASA/Bill Ingalls

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.

50th Anniversary of the First American Manned Orbital Flight

NASA/Bill Ingalls

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.

John Glenn at 50th Anniversary Press Conference

NASA/Bill Ingalls

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.

John Glenn's Orbital View

John Glenn/NASA

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.

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