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NASA, Navy to Practice Space Capsule Capture

The Associated Press reports that “the Navy and NASA are testing out how they’ll recover astronauts once they splash down in the ocean following future missions to deep space, something a Navy crew hasn’t had to do in nearly 40 years.”

“On Thursday, a team of Navy divers and the crew of the USS Arlington planned to practice retrieving a mock-up of the Orion space capsule from the waters at Naval Station Norfolk in southeastern Virginia.”

“While commonplace in the early years of manned space flight, the Navy hasn’t been used to recover astronauts since 1975, when the USS New Orleans recovered the Apollo spacecraft. That mission was the first time a U.S. and Russian spacecraft docked together in space and marked the final flight of the Apollo program. From 1961 to 1975, teams of Navy ships tracked and recovered Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft after they re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down in oceans.”