Space: Rescue in Orbit

The first manned space station has yet to be shot aloft, but earthbound engineers are already dealing with the possibility of accident in orbit, struggling with the difficult problem of bringing men back alive from some far-out disaster. What will happen, for example, if a spacecraft's retrorockets are disabled so that it cannot slow down for the long descent toward home? Will the occupants have to be abandoned?

Not necessarily, Aerodynamicist Robert Brodsky told the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences in Manhattan last week. Spaceships, like ocean liners, said Dr. Brodsky, can...

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