An anonymous reader writes: On Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn orbited the Earth in the Friendship 7 spacecraft, the first American to do so. Half a century later, the nation’s ambitions for space are in a state of flux; NASA has decommissioned the Space Shuttle and can no longer get astronauts into space without the help of the Russian Soyuz (a situation that would have been unthinkable in the early sixties). Yet private space ventures, which hope to offer services from private space cargo transportation to suborbital space tourism and beyond, are burgeoning.
In honor of the anniversary, we spoke to Clayton Anderson, a NASA astronaut who spent 167 days in space, primarily on the International Space Station, over the course of two space flights. Anderson, the first Nebraskan in space, told us that being in space is like being “Superman every day.”