|John Glenn boards Friendship 7 before the flight. (NASA)|
|Glenn inside the Friendship 7 capsule. (NASA)|
While closing the capsule hatch, a bolt breaks. Then fuel is needed; a valve sticks; a tracking station goes down. Glenn waits inside a cabin so small, he can barely move. Over 100 million people sit in front of their televisions, waiting. With his periscope, Glenn can see thousands parked along the Florida beaches. Many have been there since January, creating trailer towns complete with mayors.
A roar of flame at 9:47 a.m. ends the wait. In one minute, the engines burn more fuel than a jet flight from New York to Los Angeles. The boosters cut off, and Glenn watches the rocket fall away. He is in orbit!