20th February
It was on this day...
1962 John Glenn Becomes First US Spaceman to Orbit The Earth

Lieutenant colonel (US Marine Corps) John Hershel Glenn was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on board the Friendship 7 spaceship in front of 100,000 spectators and millions watching on television.

He went round the planet three times in a mission that would last five hours. The craft, traveling at 17,500 miles an hour, had to be switched over to manual by Glenn when it started to malfunction towards the end of the trip.

Towards the end of the mission a heat shield was thought to be loose and when Glenn slammed back into Earth's atmosphere the reentry caused him to lose radio contact with ground control. For four long minutes mission control could not speak to Glenn, but they were to regain contact. He splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was picked up by the destroyer Noa. His first comments were:

"It was hot in there."

Glenn became a national hero, was met by President Kennedy and got a ticker tape parade in New York City on 23rd February.

In 1998, 77 year-old Glenn served as a payload specialist on board Space Shuttle Discovery. On 29th October 1998 he became the oldest human (to that date) ever to go into space.

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Cindy Crawford
Ivana Trump
Robert Altman
Sidney Poitier
Other News

1936 Movie 'Follow the Fleet' starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers premieres. It featured the Irving Berlin tune "Let's Face the Music and Dance."

1972 Walter Winchell, one of the first ever gossip columnists, dies, age 74.

1974 The Atlanta Constitution editor, Reg Murphy, is kidnapped.

1993 Car maker Ferrucio Lamborghini dies

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