Space: Down the Pickle Barrel

"Have you got us in sight?" asked Astronaut Tom Stafford as Gemini 9 dropped toward the choppy Atlantic Ocean under its 84-ft. orange-and-white-striped parachute.

"The whole world has you in sight," answered a communicator aboard the aircraft carrier Wasp.

For the first time in the U.S. manned-space program, a returning spacecraft was landing close enough to the recovery carrier to permit television coverage of its splashdown. Cameras on the deck of the Wasp picked up Gemini as soon as it loomed below the clouds, photographed its recovery by the carrier, and sent the...

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