Commemoration of 50 years of Americans in Orbit

From left: Gordon Cooper, Wally Schirra (partially obscured), Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn,NASA commemoration of 50 years of Americans in orbit begins today with an interactive feature on

Initiated in 1958, completed in 1963, Project Mercury was the United States’ first man-in-space program. The objectives of the program, which made six manned flights from 1961 to 1963, were specific:

   •  To orbit a manned spacecraft around Earth
   •  To investigate man’s ability to function in space
   •  To recover both man and spacecraft safely


   1. Alan Shepard – Freedom 7
   2. Gus Grissom – Liberty Bell 7
   3. John Glenn – Friendship 7
   4. Scott Carpenter – Aurora 7
   5. Wally Schirra – Sigma 7
   6. Gordon Cooper – Faith 7

One thought on “Commemoration of 50 years of Americans in Orbit”

  1. I think it is great that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Americans in Orbit. But let’s not forget that there were two missions prior to John Glenn that went into space. Personally, I think Alan Shepard’s inaugural spaceflight is a more significant event for American space history. Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space and he did several orbits on that first trip. For the USA to demonstrate that they could launch a man into space – that was significant; being able to orbit the Earth is not because once you can get into space you can easily orbit. Just some thoughts.

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