In remembrance of the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s first American space orbit on Feb. 20, NASA produced the documentary “Friendship 7 50th Anniversary.” Actual footage and audio recordings of Glenn inside the capsule of Friendship 7 during the historic 1962 flight are blended with narrations by space shuttle astronaut Steven Lindsey, astronaut Scott Carpenter, U.S. senator and astronaut Bill Nelson, NASA chief historian Bill Barry and John Glenn himself. Glenn completed three orbits during his flight, which lasted 4 hours and 55 minutes.
In the captivating documentary, Glenn talks about how he first got into flying, his time as a fighter pilot and his career as an astronaut, including his return to space in 1998 at age 77.
In addition, the video describes how the race to space and the cold war with the Russians served as the launch pad for Friendship 7. Fascinating clips from the pioneering astronauts’ training program is included, where they were taught survival techniques in extreme environments such as desert, jungle and water to prepare them for wherever the capsule could land.
But during a celebration of 50th anniversary, Glenn displayed his frustration that the United States currently has no vehicle capable of bringing astronauts to space. “It’s unseemly to me that here we are, supposedly the world’s greatest space-faring nation, and we don’t even have a way to get back and forth to our own International Space Station,” Glenn said.