I was watching Apollo 13 the other day and the emotional peak is basically over when the nitty-gritty business of actually getting the astronauts out of the capsule begins. In the launches we saw as kids, the space capsule would come back to earth to a splashdown in the ocean, met rather quickly by a fleet of helicopters and rescue swimmers diving into the water to secure the space craft and crew.
But with decades of Space Shuttle landings under NASA’s belt, the practice of actually recovering a crew from the ocean has become a lost art. So the Air Force and NASA conducted some tests of recovery skills for the (now cancelled) Orion missions. Guess they’ll have to just take some good notes and figure out how to do it all over again whenever we decide to have a real space program again.
Here is an older video of how it was done: