The Apollo 15 spacecraft, carrying astronauts David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday (7 August) There was some anxiety when the spacecraft first appeared, as only two of the three main parachutes were deployed properly.
The Apollo 15 spacecraft, carrying astronauts David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday (7 August) There was some anxiety when the spacecraft first appeared, as only two of the three main parachutes were deployed properly. But other than a somewhat heavier than usual splashdown, everything was normal.
Preliminary estimates put splashdown point about five and a half miles (nine km) from the cross of the target map - not as close as earlier Apollo missions, but still accurate after a quarter-million mile (400,000 km) trip, with only one course correction en route.
Soon after splashdown the Apollo crew reported they were in good shape. Shortly thereafter, they were lifted into a hovering helicopter and flown to the waiting recovery ship, the U.S.S. Okinawa. As the astronauts stepped aboard the ship, a band played the U.S. Air Force anthem, "Into the Wild Blue Yonder". All three of the Apollo 15 crew are members of the Air Force.
Commenting on the parachute trouble, officials said that the spacecraft is designed to be able to splashdown with only two of the main chutes, but that the problem will be fully investigated. It was the first parachute trouble in the 25 U.S. manned space flights. Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was killed in 1967, when the parachutes on his Soyuz 1 snarled during entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
SYNOPSIS: The Apollo Fifteen prime recovery ship, the U.S.S. Okinawa, waiting for the return of astronauts David Scott, James Irwin, and Alfred Worden.
Through scattered Clouds in the otherwise clear Pacific sky, the main parachutes of the spacecraft could be seen - but then trouble. Only two of the three chutes deployed properly, end there were some anxious moments. The system is designed so that only two parachutes are necessary, but this was the heaviest spacecraft to ever return from the moon.
Recovery helicopters and frogmen were on the scene shortly to assist the astronauts out of the capsule. Because of the loss of one of the parachutes, the landing was slightly harder than usual. Officials said that because of the parachute failure, the astronauts were subjected to a pressure of between twelve and fifteen times the force of gravity, compared with eight to ten times the force of gravity in a normal landing. The spacecraft itself is designed to withstand seventy-eight times the force of gravity. Once in the helicopter, the astronauts relaxed for their brief flight to the recovery ship, considerably less arduous then their just completed twelve-day journey to the moon and back.
On the deck of the recovery ship, officials waited to greet the crew of Apollo Fifteen -- all members of the US Air Force. A band played the anthem of that service, "Into the Wild Blue Yonder."
After a brief welcoming ceremony on desk, the astronauts wet below for a physical examination and the start of lengthy debriefing sessions.