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On 20 February 1962 John Glenn became the first American astronaut to circle the earth, and the fifth man in space, when his Mercury spacecraft – called Friendship 7 -completed three orbits of the planet.

We think of astronauts and cosmonauts as being of our time – the Space Age. What could be more modern, more contemporary than journeys into space.

In July 1909 Louis Bleriot made the first flight across the channel in a heavier-than-air craft. Glenn’s mission is therefore closer in time to Bleriot than it is to the present day.

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