Science: Rousing End to a Relaxed Flight

A PAIR of loud sonic booms shook the sky over the Atlantic Ocean last week, heralding the approach of Apollo 9 as it hurtled through the thickening atmosphere on its way home. Then, to the cheers of sailors on the deck of the helicopter carrier Guadalcanal, the heat-charred spacecraft floated down through the cloud cover and splashed into the water only three miles away. The triumphant ending to the ten-day, near-perfect mission of Apollo 9 cleared the way for the final U.S. thrust toward a manned landing on the moon.

A worldwide TV audience had a close-up view of the astronauts...

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