Science: Rescue Service for Astronauts

Even before the first manned orbital flights were launched into space in 1961, scientists were haunted by the nightmare of men stranded in orbit in disabled ships, unable to return to earth. Though 22 U.S. and Russian manned spacecraft have spent more than 1,450 hours in orbit, neither nation has developed a system that could have rescued any of them from space.

Instead, NASA officials have channeled their energy and funds almost exclusively into the prevention of space mishaps, providing spacecraft with redundant systems to take over the functions of those that fail....

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