Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger taking off

On Feb. 20, the world will take a minute out of their schedules... to acknowledge the difference John Glenn has made to their lives five decades ago.

"Remember, John this was made by a low bidder"... followed by "Godspeed John Glenn"... these were the exact words from astronaut Carpenter to his colleague, astronaut Glen, as the latter stood ready for takeoff on board NASA's Friendship 7 capsule, an hour before takeoff.

It will soon be exactly fifty years since American astronaut John Glenn set off in that capsule to successfully orbit the earth for a good five hours... that was on Feb. 20, 1962. The shuttle launched then was expected to break the physical barriers that governed our worlds and shoot into our orbit.

The first American astronaut in space, John Glen 25 years as a Democratic Senator and even contested the Presidential elections.

He was not actually the first man in space though. That honor went to the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. However, the U.S. and the Mercury team fought back admirably and made sure they were the first on the moon.

The Soviets "were claiming at that time they were technically superior and saying because their rockets were going and ours were blowing up on the launch pad that they had reached the point where they were as a society technically superior to us," Glenn said on Friday at a press conference at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Mercury team reunion that will celebrate their collective efforts and their triumphant space odyssey will do so at celebrations planned by NASA; these began at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Feb. 17 and will conclude at Columbus Ohio on Feb. 20.

The next rocket launch is slated on the Feb. 22.