The Space Race & The Dangerous Early Days Of NASA

Fresh Air

By NPR

The Space Race & The Dangerous Early Days Of NASA

Wednesday, 9 June

On the morning of Feb. 20, 1962, about 100,000 spectators gathered in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness the launch of the Friendship 7, the United States' first mission to put an astronaut in orbit around the Earth. Historian Jeff Shesol says there was real fear that astronaut John Glenn wouldn't survive the day. We talk with Shesol about the early days of NASA, and how the Cold War pushed the U.S. space program to its limits. His book is 'Mercury Rising.'

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