World Aviation in 1962

10-11 January
Major Clyde P. Evely and crew establish a new world distance record in a Boeing B52H Stratofortress. Flying from Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands to Madrid in Spain a total distance of 20,168 kilometres (12,532 miles)

20 February
The United States’ first earth orbit astronaut is launched into space. Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) completes 3 orbits in a flight time of 4 hours 55 minutes 23 seconds.

21 March
Following manned tests at 909kph (565mph) on the 28 February high speed tests of an escape capsule fitted to the Convair B58A Hustler are undertaken. An unnamed bear is ejected from a Convair B58A ‘Hustler’ at 1,400kph (870mph) and lands safely.

30 April
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) pilot Joe Walker takes the North American X15A to a new altitude record of 75,195 metres (246,700 feet)

24 May
Mercury capsule Arora 7 takes Lieutenant Commander M. Scott Carpenter of the United States Navy (USN) into a three orbit space flight. Problems with re-entry mean the capsule splashes down 420 kilometres (260 miles) from the intended target area.

27 June
The North American X15A is piloted by Joe Walker to a new top speed of 6,693kph (4,159mph).

27 June
Colonel G. Mosolov establishes a new world speed record for the Soviet Union, flying the Mikoyan Ye166 to record a speed of 2,681kph (1,666mph).

10 July
The Telstar 1 communications satellite is placed in earth orbit. The first transatlantic exchanges of television programmes are now possible.

25 July
Air-to-ground public telephone service are started on Trans World Airlines (TWA) St Louis to Chicago-East Coast route.

22 October
United States President Kennedy announces that United States reconnaissance aircraft have established that offensive missile sites are being erected in Cuba.

23 October
The Soviet Union puts its forces on alert and challenges the United States rights to be concerned with actions in Cuba.

24-29 October
Following lengthy exchanges between Kennedy and Khrushchev the ‘Cuban missile crisis’ is ended. The United States agrees not to invade Cuba and the USSR agrees to halt the construction of missile sites and to remove the missiles.

14 December
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mariner II scans the surface of Venus for 35 minutes as it flies past at a distance of 34,830 kilometres (21,642 miles). A surface temperature of 428°C (834°F) is recorded.

31 December
The United States Navy (USN) announces that it has stopped all activity related to lighter-than-air craft and has disposed of its last airship.

31 December
The United States Department of Defense announces the cancellation of the Skybolt ballistic missile programme.