Today, February 20 2012, is the 50th (50th!) anniversary of John Glenn’s Mercury space flight. I was in 2nd grade, and lots of kids were excused for staying home to watch the take-off. Because it went into ‘hold’ a number of times, the take-off was cancelled more than once.
When the mission finally launched, it created the same level of excitement as the moon landing did, 7 years later. On the day it actually flew (at least the 3rd try), there were no more excuses for staying home from school. There were no TVs in every classroom (yet), but some teachers had it on the radio. After school, all the kids got off the bus pretending that they were in space, coasting home.
‘Goodspeed, John Glenn’: 50 years since first U.S. orbit (the Seattle Times)
The Friendship 7 Mission (NASA Web site)
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
Recommended viewing (one of the best movies of the ’80s)
The Right Stuff (Movie)