PHOTO OF THE DAY: NASA Astronaut John Glenn Becomes First American to Orbit Earth During MA-6 Mission in 1962
By NASA information center // February 25, 2023
Total time weightless was 4 hours, 48 minutes, 27 seconds
(NASA) – Astronaut John Glenn enters the Mercury spacecraft, Friendship 7, prior to the launch of Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) on Feb. 20, 1962.
The MA-6 mission was the first crewed orbital flight and Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth during the three-orbit, five-hour MA-6 mission.
The mission was successful.
The first American in orbit. Total time weightless was 4 hours, 48 minutes, 27 seconds.
During the flight only two major problems were encountered: (1) a yaw attitude control jet apparently clogged at the end of the first orbit, forcing the astronaut to abandon the automatic control system for the manual-electrical fly-by-wire system; and (2) a faulty switch in the heat shield circuit indicated that the clamp holding the shield had been prematurely released – a signal later found to be false.
During reentry, however, the retropack was not jettisoned but retained as a safety measure to hold the heat shield in place in the event it had loosened.
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