The astronauts chosen for the Mercury program often gave their capsules personal nicknames, as was common practice among most pilots—Glenn asked his children for suggestions on what he should name the vessel before finally deciding on the word "Friendship" and adding the number "7" to honor his fellow Mercury members... The Friendship 7 model used during testing was modified with several features to improve pilot comfort. It was outfitted with a pressure suit similar to those worn by spacemen, but made of nylon instead of rubber; this would save weight without reducing protection. A liquid-crystal display (LCD) panel replaced the traditional metal gauge cluster, providing information about speed, altitude, temperature, and other systems. There were also two small windows in the face of the cockpit cover that could be opened or closed at will.
Astronaut John Glenn wore this capsule when he became the first American to orbit the Earth. He named it after seven friends who had died while he was waiting to enter space flight. These men had inspired him to become an astronaut, including the late Senator Owen Lattimore, who had helped persuade NASA to accept Glenn into the program.
Glenn's Friendship 7 spacecraft was modified from the standard Mercury design with improvements suggested by tests on the ground. It was 15 inches shorter and weighed less than 2,000 pounds - about 1,200 pounds empty. It was also equipped with enlarged rudder controls that allowed the pilot to make sharp turns without using up too much fuel.
On February 20, 1962, Glenn joins the Friendship 7 spacecraft prior to launch. President John F. Kennedy bestows a medal to Glenn. Freedom 7, the first American human spaceflight mission, is launched. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard flew a suborbital lob. The later Mercury-Atlas 9 (MA9) was prelaunch tested on Launch Pad 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, Pays Tribute to Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. John H. Glenn Jr., an astronaut, with the Mercury "Friendship 7" spacecraft. During preflight operations, astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., pilot of the Mercury Atlas 6 (MA-6) voyage, stands for a photo with the Mercury "Friendship 7" spacecraft.
The wounds of reentry into Earth's atmosphere may be seen on the heat shield of the Mercury Friendship 7 capsule. While the heat shield kept the capsule from burning up on reentry, this was not a foregone conclusion.
7th friendship Friendship 7 was launched on February 20, 1962, from the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Friendship 7, John Glenn's space capsule, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 20, 1962. Its height ranged from around 161 to 261 kilometers (100 to 162 miles).
On February 20, 1962, Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. enters his Mercury spacecraft, Friendship 7, preparatory to the launch of the first manned Earth orbital mission from the United States. On February 20, 1962, the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7, carrying US astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., was launched.
Friendship 7, a Mercury spacecraft, was sent into orbit by an Atlas LV-3B launch vehicle from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After three orbits, the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere, splashed down in the North Atlantic Ocean, and was successfully recovered by the USS Noa. Data from Friendship 7 showed that the majority of its mass was made up of oxygen and hydrogen, with only a small fraction of carbon dioxide and nitrogen molecules.
This mission was the first of two manned flights designed to study space medicine and provide information about the effects of weightlessness on the human body. The second mission, Apollo 9, carried three astronauts who spent nine hours in orbit before returning to Earth safely. These events made NASA confident enough to plan another manned mission, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which took place in 1975. This project involved simultaneous flights of Apollo 8 and Soyuz 19, with Apollo traveling around the Moon and Soyuz returning home after just five days in orbit.
The shared flight of Apollo 8 and Soyuz 19 was a success, and it demonstrated that crews in separate vehicles could conduct joint operations during their respective missions. However not all future collaborations between countries and organizations have been so successful. For example, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster killed seven people, including school teacher Christa McCauliffe who was participating in a scientific experiment called "Challenger Recovery Experiment" or CASE.