Friday, February 20, 2015



Cape Canaveral, Florida (JFK+50) 53 years ago today, February 20, 1962, the United States put its' first astronaut into earth orbit.

Lt.Col. John Glenn (USMC), lifted off successfully aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule at 9:47 a.m. eastern time with 100,000 people watching on the ground and millions on television.

John Glenn, no stranger to putting his life on the line in the air, had flown 150 combat missions in WW II and the Korean War.

John Glenn Signed Bomber Jacket
Dr. Les Cunningham Collection
Campbell, Cunningham & Taylor
Knoxville, Tennessee
Photo by John White (2015)

While his 3 orbits around the globe were not without some technical issues, the Friendship 7 reentered the earth's atmosphere and splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean where it was retrieved by a helicopter from the USS Noa.

The flight lasted almost 5 hours. 

John Glenn became the third man to orbit the earth.  The first was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin followed by his fellow cosmonaut Gherman Titov.

Glenn is also the 3rd American astronaut to fly in space.  He follows fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard & Virgil "Gus" Grissom.

The success of putting a man in orbit represented a huge step toward achieving President John F. Kennedy's goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth" by the end of the decade.

The President visited Cape Canaveral on February 23, 1962 to pin a medal on John Glenn who later addressed congress and was given a ticker tape parade.


Brookline, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Kathleen Agnes 'Kick' Kennedy, the younger sister of future President John F. Kennedy, was born 94 years ago today, February 20, 1920, here in Brookline. a suburb of Boston.

Kathleen was the second daughter and fourth child of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and was called 'Kick' by everyone except her mother.  She attended Noroton Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Connecticut and the Hold Child Convent in Neuilly, France.

Kick was a London debutante in May 1938 when Joe Sr. was Ambassador to Great Britain and became a Red Cross volunteer during World War II.

Kathleen Kennedy
London, England
JFK Library Photo (1943)

Kick, against the wishes of her mother Rose, married William Cavendish, the Marquess of Hartington, on May 6, 1944. Kick's husband was killed in the war on September 10, 1944.

Kathleen Kennedy died in an airplane crash in France on May 13, 1948. 


"Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times," by Lynne McTaggart, Holt Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1983.

"The Kennedy Curse," by Edward Klein, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2003.