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Dates That Matter

February 20, 1962

John Glenn is the first American to orbit the earth in a spaceship.

 Why does it matter?

John Glenn was one of NASA's first astronauts and became a national hero when he was the first American to orbit the earth. The Soviet Union had won a number of early space "contests" by putting up the first satellite, and by putting the first man into orbit (Yuri Gagarin), and John Glenn's orbit helped restore confidence to the American space program. Glenn went on to become a US Senator from Ohio, and in 1998, he became the oldest man to go into space as a member of the Space Shuttle Discovery crew.

For more information...

John Glenn Biography
From the John Glenn Historic Site, a biography of Glenn.

Friendship 7 Flight Anniversary
From the John Glenn archives at Ohio State University, a good site about the Friendship 7 flight that orbited the earth. There is streaming video of the space flight and information about the celebration following the flight.

John Glenn
From a NASA site for younger learners, information about John Glenn.