“Zero G and I feel fine… Man, the view is tremendous!”

Photo from orbit by John Glenn, Feb. 20, 1962.

Those were the words enthusiastically said by astronaut John Glenn as he became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. The photo above was taken by Glenn through the window of the Friendship 7 spacecraft, in which he completed three orbits before splashing down in the Atlantic.

Much has changed in the years since these photos were taken, for better and for worse, but one thing remains the same: looking down upon our planet is a breathtaking experience for all those privileged enough to enjoy it. One day it may become a common sight for humans, but I doubt it will ever be a boring one!

These images were scanned directly from the film rolls returned from the mission, as part of the Mercury/Gemini Image Archive set up by Arizona State University. You can see more here.

Glenn sees the "thin blue line" of Earth's atmosphere
Glenn's view of the Florida coast from orbit.
It was a new dawn for American space flight...

Glenn, for one, would like to see America able to send its own up into space again, at the very least. As a pioneer he is understandably frustrated at the current state of US manned spaceflight.

“It’s unseemly to me that here we are, supposedly the world’s greatest space-faring nation, and we don’t even have a way to get back and forth to our own International Space Station,” said Glenn during a 50th anniversary celebration of his historic flight in 2012.

Image credits: NASA/JSC/Arizona State University.

One Comment

  1. Dear Dr. Glenn:

    I was a teacher and I pointed to you as the “pinnacle of what man can do.” Amazing. Although all our brains are about the same size (I’m sure yours is bigger) I tell my student’s what drive and determination can do.


    On a separate issue, have you read Rocketmen and if so what is your opinion of the book?

    I am a Pyschologist who specialized in stress management at Columbia University (NYC) where I received my doctorate. Please answer the following question: How did you manage your stress? I wrote a book on stress management (How the Best Handle Stress). Nothing can be more stressful than spaceflight!


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