The Legacy of Flight

Images from the archives of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

Otto Lilienthal gliding. (NASM)

John Glenn


NASA selected Marine Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr. for the third Mercury mission, the first to send an astronaut into orbit. Senior in age and rank among the Mercury Seven, Glenn brought to the project both a distinguished service record and a winning smile. As a test pilot and a decorated combat veteran of World War II and Korea, he possessed the nerves of steel required for the unnerving prospect of being strapped inside a capsule atop an Atlas rocket and fired into space.


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