1962 : MSU Kellogg Center Crowd Watches America’s First Astronaut To Circle Earth

February 20, 2018 all-day


About five minutes previous to blast off time Tuesday, some 150 students, professors, visitors and workmen crowded into the lobby of Kellogg center to watch Astronaut John Glenn rocket into history.

Viewers sat on the floor, stood on tables, sat and stood on the window sills and on the counter to get a peek at the television set in the center’s lobby.

It was a serious group. Some of them had been there for hours waiting for the historic moment when Glenn was fired into orbit.

Source : Lansing State Journal, February 20, 1962.

Check out Godspeed, John Glenn : Americans in Orbit, Time picture essay.

Check out Happy Anniversary John Glenn, Time picture essay.

To learn more about the original seven astronauts, check out

Selecting the Mercury seven : the search for America’s first astronauts / Colin Burgess. The names of the seven Mercury astronauts were announced in April 1959 amid a flurry of publicity and patriotism. This work provides biographical details of all thirty-two finalists for the seven coveted places as America’s pioneering astronauts. All of the candidates were among the nation’s elite pilots involved in testing new supersonic aircraft capabilities. Most had served as wartime fighter and bomber pilots; some were test pilots on top secret and sophisticated aviation projects, while others were fleet admirals, prisoners of war, and proposed pilots for spaceflight programs such as the Dyna-Soar (X-20). The names of all 32 finalists have been kept secret until very recently. “Selecting the Mercury Seven” also relates the history and difficulties behind the initial choice of candidates. The lives, motivations, military careers, and achievements of the unsuccessful twenty-five finalists are explored first in fully authorized biographies. Test pilots for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, each man has a fascinating and very different story to tell. All thirty-two men had to endure meticulous, demeaning, and brutal week-long medical examinations at the Lovelace Clinic in New Mexico. This was followed by another torturous week at the Wright Aeromedical Laboratory in Ohio, where they were subjected to extreme fitness and physiological testing, the sole purpose of which was to sort out the Supermen from the near-supermen. The final part of the book examines the accomplishments and spaceflights of the seven successful candidates, bringing their amazing stories right up to date.