Splashdowns may be iconic of the Apollo era but they weren't ideal. Aside from employing huge numbers of naval ships per mission, it put the astronauts, who were all ace pilots, at risk of drowning. Why not land on a runway? Well, NASA tried with the Rogallo paraglider wing. Barely a footnote in popular histories of the space age, it was a fascinating program though failed attempt to make splashdowns obsolete.
There is so much more to say about this than I could fit into a short video, so for more on the Rogallo wing program check out the (rather long) blog post over on Vintage Space.
And there's loads of olde timey space to dig into on my blog, Vintage Space, too!
Like even older space? "Breaking the Chains of Gravity: the Story of Spaceflight Before NASA" is available now! You can order your copy on Amazon.
I'm also selling signed hardcover editions of my book on my website!
Connect on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter as @astVintageSpace.
Like Vintage Space in all its incarnations? Consider becoming a patron! I've set up a Patreon account so I can raise money for things to make better content, like better software for editing, and even hiring professionals!