Project Mercury was America's first manned spaceflight program. John Glenn's historic flight occurred on February 20, 1962. His spacecraft, named Friendship 7, completed 3 orbits of the Earth. During the flight a warning light indicated the heat shield required for reentry might be loose. Flight Control advised Glenn to leave on the retro-rocket pack in the rear of the spacecraft with the hopes it would keep the shield secure. There were some tense moments during reentry but all went ell and John Glenn splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean. In completing his flight he instantly became a national hero.