The naval heritage of the US space programme: A case of losses

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For twenty years American astronauts returned from their space adventures by splashing into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was the US Navy's task to recover them, and their spacecraft, safely and swiftly. To assist in tracking and communicating with the astronauts in space, the Military Sea Transport Service operated a number of telemetry vessels on behalf of the US Navy and US Air Force. While not as spectacular as the activities surrounding the launch of the rockets, the naval component of the US space programme of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era was instrumental to its success and overall excellent safety record. Historic Preservation is about the intentional, selective preservation of heritage items for the benefit of future generations. This paper reviews which, if any, elements of the naval heritage of the US Space programme have been preserved, and which processes have been employed to undertake the selection and assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-214
Number of pages45
JournalJournal for Maritime Research
Issue number1, October 2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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