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Bermuda’s Cooper Island NASA center, which has long been closed, played a role in John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mission.  

 During John Glenn’s mission the recovery area was nicknamed “Area Hotel” and during his second orbit Glenn reported “This is Friendship 7, checking down in Area Hotel on the weather, and it looks good down that way. Looks like we’ll have no problem on recovery” to which Grissom in Bermuda responded “Very good. We’ll see you in Grand Turk”.

Broadcast between John Glenn and the Bermuda Tracking Station
(Flight time on left)
03 12 32 – Glenn This is Friendship Seven, checking down in Area Hotel on the weather and it looks good down

John Glenn Leaving Grand Turk
6 Mercury Astronauts

that way. Looks like we’ll have no problem on recovery.
03 12 32 – Bermuda Station Very good. We’ll see you in Grand Turk
03 12 43 – Glenn Yes sir.
03 12 48 – Glenn In fact I can see clear down, see all the islands clear down the whole chain from up here, can see way beyond them and Area Hotel looks excellent for recovery.

Prior to re entry ground instruments indicated that the heat shield had become loose. As a precaution mission controllers did not jettison the retrorocket package, which was attached just below the heat shield. Even with this problem Friendship 7 landed a few miles short of the planned target, 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.

After landing and being brought to Grand Turk there were various press releases and in one Robert Voas, Mercury Training Officer, recalled Glenn’s account of returning in “a shooting star”.

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