Crowds queueing to see John Glenn's space capsule, London, May 1962.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
On 20 February 1962 astronaut John Glenn, aboard the Mercury Friendship 7 spacecraft, became the first American to orbit the Earth. He completed three orbits before splashing down in the Atlantic after a flight lasting 4 hours 55 minutes. Afterwards, Glenn's capsule was taken on a world exhibition tour, drawing large crowds as seen here.