Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. With the world watching the historic and live-televised event, Glenn orbited the Earth three times in his space capsule, Friendship 7. Four hours and 55 minutes after ignition, John Glenn and Friendship 7 returned to Earth and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.
The John Glenn Story, 1963
From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981,Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
This Week in Universal News: Apollo 1 Disaster
From the release sheet:
ASTRONAUT DISASTER Apollo astronauts Roger Chaffee, Edward White, and Gus Grissom are all killed in a flash-fire aboard their grounded space capsule. Investigators theorize perhaps a short circuit or electrical overload sparked the blaze. The first Apollo flight was scheduled for February.
Watch the entire newsreel, featuring cryogenics in Arizona, a Chicago blizzard, and other stories here.
About the Universal Newsreel Collection at NARA:
The Universal Newsreel Collection is one of the most used motion picture collections at the National Archives and Records Administration. Universal Newsreels were shown in movie theaters twice a week, from 1929 until 1967, and covered a wide range of American life and history during that time period. Each release usually contained five to seven stories averaging two minutes in length.
In 1974, Universal deeded its edited newsreel and outtake collection to the United States through the National Archives (NARA), and did not place any copyright restrictions on its use (some stories may contain other underlying intellectual property or proprietary use rights).
While Universal disposed of many of the soundtracks, leaving the newsreels incomplete, supplementary material like scripts, shot lists, and event programs can be found in the production files, available for research at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.
The Project Gemini Space Rendezvous
The first orbital “rendezvous” of two manned spacecraft occurred on December 15, 1965 when the Gemini VI (Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford) and Gemini VII (Frank Borman and Jim Lovell) spacecraft were maneuvered to within 1 foot of each other while in orbit.
"Photograph of the Gemini VII spacecraft - side view turning adapter section toward camera - was taken from the Gemini VI spacecraft during rendezvous and station keeping maneuvers at an altitude of 161 nautical miles during orbit no. 6,on December 15,1965. G.E.T. time was 9:09/GMT time was 22.46. The two spacecrafts are approximately 40 feet apart."
From the file: Gemini VI, 12/15/1965 - 12/16/1965
More at the NASA Gemini Mission Page
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, became the oldest human to venture into space on October 29, 1998 as a crew member of Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-95).
John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth aboard the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. This photo was taken of Glenn exiting Friendship 7, and was collected by the Senate Committee on Aeronautical Space and Science in 1965, who oversaw the operation of NASA at the time. After becoming a Senator in 1973, Glenn was invited by NASA to return to space over three decades after his first flight. Glenn became the oldest man to travel into space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on October 29, 1998.
Photo of John H. Glenn in Friendship 7, SEN 89A-F1, Records of the U.S. Senate
(Ed. Note: corrected first sentence to clarify that John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth. Alan Shepard was the first American in space. Thanks Twitter user @imillis for the catch.)
Bon Voyage(r) as NASA’s Voyager 1 probe ventures into interstellar space!
A simulation of a Voyager spacecraft from “NASA’S 25th Anniversary Show, 1983” from the series: Moving Images Relating to U.S. Domestic and International Activities from the Records of the U.S. Information Agency.
More about the Voyager project from NASA’s Voyager Mission Pages
Happy Birthday NASA!
America in Space - The First Decade, 1968
From the NASA series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981
Happy 55th Birthday NASA!
On July 29, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 which “provided for research into the
problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere” and
established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Apollo 11 Flight Plan
The flight plan for Apollo 11 was a minute-by-minute time line of activities for the mission crew—Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin—and Mission Control in Houston. The flight was launched July 16, 1969. Touchdown on the moon took place, as scheduled, on July 20, 102 hours, 47 minutes, and 11 seconds after launch from Cape Kennedy. The astronauts spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the moon, and returned to Earth on July 24.
(and thanks to the Smithsonian Libraries tumblr for the illustrated inspiration!)
Apollo 11 - This Week in History
Tomorrow is the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.
Soon after their historic steps, they received a phone call from President Nixon in the Oval Office. To celebrate the occasion, we’re teaming up with the NASA History Office to tweet out the lunar call between the President and astronauts.
Photo: Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. standing on the moon next to the U.S. flag, 7/20/196.
Apollo-Soyuz: Cold War Collaboration
On July 17, 1975, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts docked together in space during the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. Cosmonauts Aleksey Leonov and Valeri Kubasov and astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald Slayton conducted joint scientific experiments, exchanged gifts, and spoke in each other’s languages.
This mission was seen as an opportunity not only to cooperate in space but also to strengthen U.S.-Soviet cooperation in general.
President Ford and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev both called to congratulate the crews after the docking.
Model of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft depicts their linkage in outer space. The commemorative pins attached to the base were worn by the cosmonauts when they presented the model to President Ford on September 7, 1974.
Photo and caption courtesy of NASA: In perhaps the most iconic image from the flight, astronaut Deke Slayton and cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov are seen together in the Soyuz spacecraft.
On June 29, 1995, the Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir Space Station, marking the first Shuttle-Mir docking. NASA STS-71 had several other firsts: when docked together the Shuttle and Mir made the largest spacecraft ever in orbit; the first changeout of a shuttle crew in orbit; and it was the 100th U.S. human space launch conducted from the Cape.
(See also the NASA Mission Archive for STS-71, via NASA.gov)
Sally Ride, the first female American astronaut to go into space, blasted off aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger 30 years ago, on June 18, 1983, as a mission specialist for Space Transportation System Mission 7 (STS-7).