usrocket US celebrates 50th anniversary of American in space

Today is the 50th anniversary of the the first US space flight, marking a significant stage in the history of humanity and a particularly important element of the Cold War space race.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the the first US space flight, marking a significant stage in the history of humanity and a particularly important element of the Cold War space race.

 
On 20 February, 1962, at 9:47am, the Atlas rocket launched from Cape Canaveral and orbited the Earth three times in a five hour period.
 
The spacecraft was operated by astronaut John Glenn and it was the eleventh attempt to get an American into orbit. It also followed roughly one year after Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union made the milestone of first man in space.
 
The significance of the US achievement was that it restored confidence in its ability to compete with the Soviet Union in space exploration and set the stage for putting a man on the moon, a feat achieved only seven years later in July 1969.
 
usrocket US celebrates 50th anniversary of American in space
 
Glenn, who is now 90, told the French news agency AFP that the Soviets thought they were more technologically advanced than the US due to the fact that US rockets were continuously blowing up on the launch pad, so this US success marked a major victory in a psychological battle between the two world powers.
 
Both Glenn and Scott Carpenter, the second American to fly into space, expressed disappointment with NASA's current lack of a manned space flight programme after the space agency retired the last of its shuttles in July 2011. 
 
Now Americans have to travel on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft when flying to the International Space Station, an unusual turn of events given past tensions. It is understandable why the US astronauts might feel somewhat disgruntled about this, but at the same time it is reassuring to see international cooperation on such important scientific discoveries and achievements.
 
Source: AFP