Skip to main content

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.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Karl Tate

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  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 and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.