The Dragon: A Short Story

Decent Essays
Soon to be astronaut John Glenn was nervous; he was sitting in his zero-gravity seat aboard the “Friendship 7,” a Mercury capsule on top of an Atlas VI rocket. This was the seventh time that the rocket had been readied for launch; the other six dates had been canceled due to various problems with the rocket and weather. Despite four more mechanical problems with the rocket today and several hours delay, the launch seemed to be a go. Throughout the ordeal, Glenn tried to remain calm as his vitals were being broadcast to the nation. Soon he was bolted into the capsule, the fuel lines were retracted, and the final countdown began. During the last few seconds, the engines roared to life and he felt his heart rate quicken when an intense rumbling…show more content…
As the sun rose, he saw brilliant oranges and blues as well as several luminescent particles whizzing by the craft. He describes these “fireflies” to Mission Control who become concerned that the particles may be a leak from the ship. His problems began to compound as the automatic stabilization system failed, causing Glenn to have to manually control the movement of the capsule for the remainder of the mission. Next, his suit began to grow uncomfortably hot. As he lowered the temperature of his suit, the humidity in the cabin began to rise to unsafe levels. He now had to manage the temperature of his suit carefully, or risk damaging the electronics within the capsule. After resolving that issue, Mission Control instructed him to leave the retro pack, a collection of rocket engines under the craft, attached for re-entry. This worried Glenn, and he asked Control why they had made that decision. In response to his question, they told him that it was thought that the heat shield of the ship was believed to be compromised and by leaving the pack on, re-entry could be performed safely. This news only served to strengthen his anxiety, but nevertheless he began final preparations for re-entry and attempted to calm himself as much as
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