Friday, February 17, 2012

"God Speed, John Glenn"

Fifty years ago Monday, Mom allowed us to stick around the house a while before leaving for 5th grade at St. Catherine's School to see the launch of John Glenn on America's first orbital flight.

Here is the newsreel video:


For those too young to remember, newsreels were updated weekly and played in movie theaters before the previews and cartoon. 

A light snow began falling during recess and, being fifth graders, we went around proclaiming "John Glenn has dandruff!"

We later learned the flight did not go as smoothly as first depicted. The heat shield warning sounded during the flight (shortening it from seven to three orbits) and there was real concern at NASA that Glenn would burn up on reentry.

Glenn's flight allowed America to catch up to the Soviet Union (very important in those days) and, seven years later, win the race to the moon.

If you would like to learn more about the early days of space flight, I recommend either the book or movie version of The Right Stuff. 

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