February 20, 1962 - Mercury 4
On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the first American to enter orbit. Flying aboard Friendship 7, Glenn orbited the earth three times. During the flight, Glenn controlled the attitude system. The drama heightened when, on the way down, there was fear that Glenn's heat shield was going to come off. The sheild held and, four hours and 55 minutes after blastoff, Glenn's capsule splashed down.