February 20, 2012
What John Glenn Saw from Space
Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic
Five minutes and four seconds into the flight of the Friendship 7, as John Glenn prepared to become the first American to orbit Earth, he radioed to NASA, his capsule turned and brought the Earth into sight. "Oh, that view is tremendous," he said.
In this post, I'll try to recreate some of Glenn's experience using imagery from our satellites and astronauts. It won't be a perfect recreation, but we'll have some chance of understanding what that first orbit must have been like.
Shortly after reaching orbit, his gave his first description of an earthly phenomenon from orbit. "This is Friendship Seven," he said, "Can see clear back; a big cloud pattern way back across towards the Cape. Beautiful sight." It might have looked something like...