Science: Down to Earth

Few groups of men have been more carefully picked or enjoyed more widespread admiration than America's astronauts. Before man's first landing on the moon in 1969, the corps totaled more than 50 men. Most of them were extremely skilled jet pilots and had distinguished military records, as well as extensive engineering and scientific training. Now, like the space program itself, this elite cadre is rapidly being reduced in size. By 1974, NASA expects to have no more than 14 astronauts on active flight duty.

The attrition in the ranks of America's spacemen is already becoming apparent. Apollo 12 Astronaut Dick Gordon recently...

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