In the early Sixties, America was mired in earthly miseries threatening its future, from deep-seated segregation in the heartland to a seemingly unending power struggle with the Soviet Union. Despite the tumult, it managed to set optimistic sights on outer space. In 1961 Al Shepard became the first American to dip a toe into the eerie abyss, and a year later, John Glenn planted a solid footing as the first American to orbit Earth. With Glenn’s recent passing, many people are wondering what life must have been like as a space pioneer during the Cold War — to be catapulted into the unknown equipped with prototype rocket science and the hefty weight of a country’s expectations. As one of the chosen few to cross the terrestrial threshold and catch a glimpse of the planet he calls home thousands of miles up in the stratosphere, Glenn brought back a unique vantage point that helped secure our fragile world.
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