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US Manned Spacecraft History And Photography
Mercury MA-6 — Friendship 7
National Air & Space Museum
Washington, DC

Mercury Friendship 7

• Serial Number:13
• Mission:MA-6
• Nickname:Friendship 7
• Crew:Glenn
• Launch Date:2-20-1962
• Flight Duration:4 Hours, 55 Minutes
Mercury Friendship 7 spacecraft on display at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. This was the first US manned space flight to achieve Earth orbit. The flight nearly ended in disaster as mission control received an indication that there was a problem with the heat shield that protected the spacecraft from the blazing heat of re-entry. Mission controllers elected to keep the aft retro-rocket pack attached to the spacecraft during re-entry, and that was enough to prevent the impending heat shield failure.

Astronaut John Glenn only flew one mission as an astronaut. NASA was reluctant to risk the life of a national hero on a second space flight. Glenn later became a United States Senator from the state of Ohio, serving from 1974 to 1999. Glenn did get a chance to make a second space flight. He was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-95, which lifted off 29 October 1998.

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