In 2014, a Navy ship will recover a NASA capsule from the first time since 1975.
The mission to recover the Orion will reestablish a relationship going back to the beginning of manned space flight.
The following is a brief illustrated history of the relationship of the Navy and NASA from Alan Shepard’s first flight into space to the Apollo moon missions, collected from the U.S. Naval Institute Archives.
Alan Shepard, the first American in space, is recovered from the South Atlantic in 1961. US Naval Institute Archives
A Marine helicopter lifts Liberty Bell 7 after recovering astronaut Gus Grissom, July 21, 1961. The helicopter was forced to release the capsule and allow it to sink after it became flooded with seawater. Liberty Bell 7 was recovered from the ocean floor in 1999. US Naval Institute Archives
USS Kearsarge after recovering Faith 7. May 16, 1963. Note the formation of sailors in the shape of the capsule. US Naval Institute Archives
Faith 7 being hoisted out of the water by the USS Kearsarge, May 16, 1963. US Naval Institute Archives
James A. McDivett is pulled from the Gulf of Mexico during Gemini 4 training, April 14, 1965. US Naval Institute Archives
Gemini 9 astronauts get picked up by the USS Wasp, July 30, 1966. US Naval Institute Archives
The USS Kearsarge celebrates its role in astronaut recovery with a banner, May 18, 1963. US Naval Institute Archives
Apollo 10, recovery. US Naval Institute Archives
Sailors on the USS Wasp hoist Gemini 9A aboard, June 6, 1966. US Naval Institute Archives
Decontaminating the Apollo 11 command module as the astronauts wait to be recovered, July 24, 1969. US Naval Institute Archives
Apollo 13 is recovered after its harrowing mission, April 17, 1970. US Naval Institute Archives
Pararescuemen from the USS Ticonderoga arrive at the spacecraft carrying astronauts from Skylab, June 22, 1973. US Naval Institute Archives
For more information on the Navy’s relationship to NASA, see MOON MEN RETURN: USS Hornet and the Recovery of the Apollo 11 Astronauts from the Naval Institute Press.