70ºF

On this day: President Kennedy visits Space Coast after John Glenn's historic flight

JFK's visit in celebration of John Glenn circling Earth 3 times


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – After becoming the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn was greeted by thousand of people along the Space Coast, including President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Kennedy and Johnson arrived at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Feb. 23, 1962 to honor Glenn for his historic flight.

Longtime News 6 anchor Ben Aycrigg recalled the visit in 1984 as part of News 6's 30th anniversary special. News 6 was stationed in front of the hotel where astronauts and world press were stationed, the Holiday Inn Cocoa Beach, as Glenn passed by via motorcade from Patrick Air Force Base.

During the encounter with the president, Glenn received the Distinguished Service Medal. 

Glenn had rocketed into space aboard Mercury's Friendship 7 spacecraft and circled the Earth three times in just under five hours before landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Kennedy Space Center would not receive its current name until November of 1963, after an executive order by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

News 6 will unveil more memorable events in Central Florida history throughout the year as a way to honor the station's 65th anniversary.


About the Author: