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Press Release
February 15, 2012

National Archives Special Film Display Celebrates 50th Anniversary of 1st American in Orbit

Washington, DC…The National Archives celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first American to orbit the Earth with a special free video display of Friendship 7, in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building, Washington, DC. The exhibit opens today and runs through March 8, 2012. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily; admission is free.

In 1962, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) produced an hour-long film about Friendship 7. The film was then transferred from NASA to the National Archives.

Visitors who cannot visit the exhibit in person can view the 5:27 minute Archives-edited video on the National Archives YouTube channel: http://tiny.cc/Friendship7.

This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages the free distribution of it.

Fifty years ago, on February 20, 1962, Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., became the first American to orbit the Earth. With the world watching the historic, live televised event, Glenn, riding in his space capsule, Friendship 7, orbited the Earth three times.

Three orbits and 4 hours and 55 minutes after ignition, John Glenn and Friendship 7 returned to Earth, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles southeast of Bermuda. After a short debriefing and medical check aboard the USS Noa, Glenn was hoisted aboard a Navy helicopter to return to the mainland.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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