- Friendship 7
- Pad LC-14 ()
- Atlas (6)
- John H. Glenn, Jr.
- 8/27/61 - Capsule arrived at Cape Canaveral
- 2/15/62 - Flight Safety Review
- 2/20/62 - Launch
- Spacecraft No. 13, Vehicle Number 109-D
- Place a man into earth orbit, observe his reactions to the space
environment and safely return him to earth to a point where he could
be readily found.
- The Mercury flight plan during the first orbit was to maintain
optimum spacecraft attitude for radar tracking and communication
- February 20, 1962. 9:47:39 am EST. Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 14.
Powered flight lasted 5 minutes 1 second and was completed normally.
- The mercury countdown began on 1/27/62 and was performed in two
parts. Precount checks out the primary spacecraft systems, followed by
a 17.5 hour hold for pyrotechnic checks, electrical connections and
peroxide system servicing. Then the countdown began. The launch
countdown proceeded to the T-13 minute mark and then was canceled due
to adverse weather conditions. After cancellation, the mission team
decided to replace the carbon dioxide absorber unit and the peroxide
system had to be drained and flushed to prevent corrosion. Launch
vehicle systems were then revalidated and a leak was discovered
in the inner bulkhead of the fuel tank that required 4-6 days to
repair. The launch was rescheduled to 2/13/62 and then to 2/14/62
to all the bulkhead work to complete. The precount picked up
again on 2/13/62, 2/15/62 and 2/16/62 but was canceled each time
due to adverse weather. The launch was then rescheduled for 2/20/62.
- During the launch countdown on 2/20/62, all systems were energized
and final overall checks were made. the count started at T-390
minutes by installing and connecting the escape-rocket igniter. The
service structure was then cleared and the spacecraft was powered to
verify no inadvertent pyrotechnic ignition. The personnel then
returned to the service structure to prepare for static firing of the
reaction control system at T-250 minutes.
- The spacecraft was then prepared for boarding at T-120 minutes. The
hatch was put into place at T-90 minutes. During installation a bolt
was broken, and the hatch had to be removed to replace the bolt
causing a 40 minute hold. From T-90 to T-55 final mechanical work and
spacecraft checks were made and the servicewas evacuated and moved
away from the launch vehicle. At T-45 minutes, a 15 minute hold was
required to add fuel to the launch vehicle and at T-22 minutes and
additional 25 minutes was required for filling the liquid-oxygen tanks
as a result of a minor malfunction in the ground support equipment
used to pump liquid oxygen into the launch vehicle. At approximately
T-35 minutes, filling of the liquid-oxygen tanks began and final
spacecraft and launch vehicle systems checks were started.
- At T-10 minutes the spacecraft went on internal power. At T-6min 30
seconds, a 2 minute hold was required to make a quick check of the
network computer at Bermuda. The launch vehicle went on internal power
at T-3 minutes. At T-35 seconds the spacecraft umbilical was ejected
and at T-0 the main engines started. Liftoff occured at T+4 seconds at
- Altitude: 162.2 x 100 statute miles
- Inclination: 32.54
- Orbits: 3
- Period: 88min 29sec
- Duration: 0 Days, 4 hours, 55 min, 23 seconds
- Distance: 75,679 statute miles
- Velocity: 17,544 mph
- Max Q: 982 psf
- Max G: 7.7
- February 20, 1962. 14:43:02 am EST. 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.
- Recovered by the destroyer USS Noa. Lookouts on the destroyer
sighted the main parachute at an altitude of 5,000 ft from a range of
5nm. The Noa had the spacecraft aboard 21 minutes after landing and
astronaut John Glenn remained in the spacecraft during pickup.
Original plans had called for egress through the top hatch but Glenn
was becoming uncomfortably warm and it was decided to exit by the
easier egress path.
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- Mission Successful. First American in orbit. Total time weightless
4 hours 48min 27sec. During the flight only two major problems were
encountered: (1) a yaw attitude control jet apparently clogged at the
end of the first orbit, forcing the astronaut to abandon the automatic
control system for the manual-electrical fly-by-wire system; and (2) a
faulty switch in the heat shield circuit indicated that the clamp
holding the shield had been prematurely released- a signal later found
to be false. During reentry, however, the retropack was not
jettisoned but retained as a safety measure to hold the heat shield in
place in the event it had loosened.
- (Reference NASA - Results of the First US Manned Orbital Space Flight)
- (Reference NASA SP-4201 - This New Ocean)
- (Reference NASA SP-4001 - Project Mercury: A Chronology)
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Last Updated Friday August 25 13:06:25 EDT 2000
Jim Dumoulin (firstname.lastname@example.org)