This Feb. 20, 1962 photo made available by NASA shows astronaut John Glenn during his space flight in the Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft, weightless and traveling at 17,500 mph. The image was made by an automatic sequence motion picture camera. (AP Photo/NASA)
"In 4 hours and 56 minutes, John Glenn circled the globe three times, reaching speeds of more than 17,000 miles per hour. The successful mission concluded with a splashdown and recovery in the Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda."
Safely on Earth, Lieutenant Glenn said, "Boy, that was a real fireball of a ride." Said CNN: "Four million people turned out to honor him at the largest ticker-tape parade New York City had ever thrown. President John F. Kennedy valued Glenn so highly as a symbol of U.S. prowess during the space race with the Soviets that he ordered NASA not to let him return to space."