Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) was a human spaceflight mission conducted by NASA, the space agency of the United States. As part of Project Mercury, MA-6 was the successful first attempt by NASA to place an astronaut into orbit. The MA-6 mission was launched February 20, 1962. It made three orbits of the Earth, piloted by astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth. The event was named an IEEE Milestone in 2011.
The Mercury spacecraft, named Friendship 7, was carried to orbit by an Atlas LV-3B launch vehicle lifting off from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After four hours and 56 minutes in flight the spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was safely taken aboard the USS Noa.