John Glenn becomes the First American to orbit Earth
On this day in 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. In just four hours and fifty-five minutes, Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching a velocity more than 17,500 miles per hour. Glenn’s service has been recognized with several awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. His spacecraft, the Friendship 7, is on display at the Smithsonian.