John Glenn Orbits in Friendship 7
John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth. On February 20, 1962 he climbed into the spacecraft Friendship 7 and blasted into orbit atop a powerful rocket. After orbiting the earth three times, the capsule returned to the atmosphere and splashed down in the North Atlantic Ocean. A waiting vessel easily recovered the spacecraft and astronaut. The Mercury-Atlas 6 mission was a success!
The Name Friendship 7
Before the historic spaceflight, John Glenn enlisted the help of his children to assist in naming the spacecraft. “The world is going to be watching, so the name should represent our country and the way we feel about the rest of the world.” Dave and Lyn presented a list of names with “Friendship” at the top of the list. Glenn couldn’t have been more pleased! To Friendship they added “7” to represent the 7 astronauts in the Mercury program. After the flight Glenn stated, “Flying around the world, over all those countries [Friendship] was the message I wanted to convey.”
The Name Mercury-Atlas 6
In addition to the nickname Friendship 7, Mercury-Atlas 6 is the official mission name. This name is a combination of the spacecraft Mercury and the rocket Atlas. These names are from Greek and Roman mythology. Mercury was the Roman god of speed. Atlas was the Greek titan that held up the world with his powerful strength. This was the 6th mission to use the newer, faster Atlas rocket.
Images from NASA through Wikimedia Commons.
References: John Glenn, a Memoir and NASA.govPosted in Space Scouts