A boilerplate spacecraft version of the Gemini capsule was test dropped into the Atlantic Ocean from a 0-119 Air Force Reserve aircraft today to evaluate spacecraft retrieval techniques in the launch site recovery area.
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Background: A boilerplate spacecraft version of the Gemini capsule was test dropped into the Atlantic Ocean from a 0-119 Air Force Reserve aircraft today to evaluate spacecraft retrieval techniques in the launch site recovery area.
Conducted three miles off-shore from Cape Kennedy, the spacecraft was dropped from 11,000 feet. Waiting below for recovery were two Air Rescue Service HH-3C helicopters with pararescuemen aboard ready to deploy into the water and attach a flotation collar to the capsule.
As soon as the dummy spacecraft hit the water, tow pararescuemen dropped into the ocean from one helicopter and three others deployed from the second chopper.
After securing the craft with the flotation device, an LCU (Landing Craft Utility) moved in to recover the vehicle and the pararescuemen.
Lt. Col. W. D. Baxter, Commander of the Launch Site Recovery Forces, directed the operation from his airborne command post aboard one of the HH-30's. This same type of force will be used in the forthcoming GT-3 launch ready to retrieve the astronauts and their spacecraft should the flight terminate in the launch area.
In addition to the C-119 aircraft, flown by a Reservist crew from the 446th Troop Carrier Wing, Ellington AFB, Texas, recovery force consisted of two HH-30 helicopters, two LARC's, two MRV's, two LVTR's and one LCU.