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1st American in Orbit: How John Glenn (And NASA) Made History (Infographic)

John Glenn's Mercury mission was the first American space flight around the world.
John Glenn's Mercury mission was the first American space flight around the world. (Image credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com Contributor)

When NASA launched astronaut John Glenn into orbit on Feb. 20, 1962, the U.S. joined the realm of orbital spaceflight and never looked back. Seven years later, the first Americans would land on the moon. See how NASA made the leap into orbital spaceflight with Glenn's historic Friendship 7 spaceflight in the SPACE.com inforgrahic above.

 John Glenn died on Dec. 8, 2016 at age 95. Read our full obituary here.

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Karl Tate
Karl's association with SPACE.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. Starting in 2010, Karl has been TechMediaNetwork's infographics specialist across all editorial properties.  Before joining SPACE.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating  news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Karl on Google+.