Zero G And I Feel Fine
John Glenn Quote
Zero G and I feel fine; John Glenn quote that eased mission control tensions and immortalised himself as a national hero as the first US astronaut to orbit the earth
The Space Race
The space race in the late 1950's and early 1960's was a duel between the Soviet Union and USA. This was the height of the cold war and the space race signified a technological battle ground where the Soviets were outperforming the Americans so the pressure was on to show they could compete in space.
The Soviets had already got the first man into space Yuri Gagarin and he successfully made one complete orbit of the earth. This was followed by Gherman Titov who completed 17 successful orbits of the earth.
Two Americans Alan B. Shepard Jr. and Virgil I. Grissom had made it into space on suborbital flights and the Americans desperately needed to complete a multi orbit space flight to change the perception that the Soviets were more technologically advanced than the US.
On 20th February 1962 the Mercury capsule Friendship 7 was launched with John Glenn as pilot. It was as the capsule entered orbit that John Glenn uttered the immortal quote "zero G and I feel fine". Mission control was ecstatic and Glenn went on to make three successful orbits of the earth.
Returning to earth was not without a few snags as a problem developed with the heat shield indicating it had come loose. As Friendship 7 re-entered the atmosphere the tension rose in mission control as radio contact was lost for four minutes until Glenns voice was heard again and the capsule landed safely in the Atlantic ocean south of Bermuda.
Zero gravity (zero G) gives you a feeling of motionlessness, you experience the sensation of floating in mid air and this can lead to easily losing your sense of orientation because in normal gravity you are acutely aware of where down is.
In zero gravity your movements have to be changed, if you push off from a solid surface with the same force as you would under normal gravity you will go hurtling through space, the key to movement is a gentle push in the direction you wish to go.
American National Hero
After becoming the first American to successfully orbit the earth John Glenn became a national hero with president John F. Kennedy awarding him the Space Congressional Medal of Honour and New York city gave him a ticker tape parade to celebrate his successful mission.
Quotes become immortal due to two things; Great achievements and timing. NASA and America were under immense pressure to keep up with the Soviets in the space race and the eyes of the world were on John Glenn on his epic Friendship 7 flight.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, as the capsule approached orbit the tense atmosphere in mission control was broken with the immortal John Glenn quote "zero G and I feel fine".
A legend was born and America rightly so regarded John Glenn as national hero.