Remember re-entry? Back before spaceships had wings?
Back in the day, astronauts came back to earth by falling backward through the atmosphere. Their capsule would be engulfed in flames in the upper atmosphere, then there’d be a point where they’d deploy a parachute or three and slow down.
It wasn’t over even then. They’d fall into the ocean. Ideally, this would happen somewhere near the aircraft carrier they were aiming for so they could be rescued before they capsized.
Walter Cronkite used to portray the astronauts as cool and collected during this wild plunge. He made us think about them going about their business as their fireball streaked toward the ocean. Read the rest of this entry »