On February 20, 1962, John Glenn orbited the Earth three times in his Friendship 7 spaceship to make the United States the second nation to send a man into orbit. This is the Universal Newsreel of his flight.

In those days, NASA was playing catchup to the Soviet space program, but those days would soon be over. A little over seven years later, American astronauts landed on the Moon while Soviet Moon rockets landed in pieces in modern-day Kazakhstan.

And who would have guessed, back in the heady days of Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, that fifty years after John Glenn’s flight, America would lack the capacity to send humans not to the Moon but even to low Earth orbit?