This day in history – February 20, 1962

I remember this clearly. I was in school (9th grade), and they broadcast the event over the school’s PA system.

John H. Glenn, Jr., the oldest of seven astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury spaceflight training (and later a U.S. senator), became on this day in 1962 the first American to orbit Earth, doing so three times.

When Time featured real “men of the year”.


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6 Responses to This day in history – February 20, 1962

  1. Lucille says:

    Good morning, Stella! That was such a notable day! At home I watched as much of the prep and take-off as I could that morning in 1962 but had to be in class at 8:00 AM PST and the college was about 1/2 hour away. Students had their radios on as we sat outside during breaks but it wasn’t until late afternoon when I got home that I was able to see the reruns on the major networks.

    A couple of weeks later I bought a long-playing album of the take-off and the various dialogues between the ground and the space capsule. On it I heard someone say, “The Good Lord ride all the way.” Knowing that Glenn was a devout Christian, since the day I purchased that LP I have always thought it was John Glenn saying that phrase.

    However, just a few minutes ago I looked it up at Wikipedia and turns out it wasn’t Glenn. Here’s the info on the correct attribution:

    “At 14:47 UTC, after two hours and 17 minutes of holds and three hours and 44 minutes after Glenn entered Friendship 7, engineer T. J. O’Malley pressed the button in the blockhouse launching the spacecraft. O’Malley said, “the good Lord ride all the way,” and then capsule communicator Scott Carpenter uttered the famous phrase “Godspeed, John Glenn.” Due to a glitch in Glenn’s radio, he did not hear the Carpenter phrase during launch. At liftoff Glenn’s pulse rate climbed to 110 beats per minute.” (

    Nothing like being wrong for over 60 years…LOL!

    The following vid is entitled “Voyage of Friendship 7”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lucille says:

    Stellars, enjoy your Monday on one of the world’s four largest islands (posted in order 1-4)….

    Ayers Rock, Australia (an island continent which is the 6th largest country landmass-wise)…

    Davis Strait, Greenland…

    New Guinea…


    Liked by 2 people

    • Lucille says:

      Whoops! Didn’t put this in the right place. Oh, well, there is a connection of Friendship 7 to Australia, so maybe that makes up for my faux pas…hahahaha!:

      “Three months after its Earth orbital flight, the Friendship 7 capsule began its next mission, popularly known as its “fourth-orbit tour.” The U.S. Information Agency and NASA organized a three-month round-the-world tour that took it to more than 20 countries, including all that hosted a NASA tracking station. An estimated four million people saw it in person and 20 million more on local television programs. A U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane emblazoned with the words “Around the world with Friendship 7” transported the spacecraft to the various locations, beginning in Hamilton, Bermuda, on April 20, 1962, through Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Following its fourth-orbit tour, on Aug. 6, 1962, the famous spacecraft went on temporary display in the NASA exhibit hall at the Century 21 Exposition, also known as the World’s Fair, in Seattle.” (

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sharon says:

    I had not kept that event connected to 1962–I was a high school senior.

    So magnificent what those crews/designers/managers were able to do with their pocket protectors and no massive computer programs. Just amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. czarina33 says:

    I was in Miami, and Dade County had all the schools move the students into the cafeterias or auditoriums with TVs so we could watch the whole thing, from set up to splash down. Good thing it went well —- imagine if there had been trouble!

    Liked by 1 person

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