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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: © 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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