Apollo-17 astronauts Eugene Cernan, Jack Schmitt and Ronald Evans splashed down to a perfect landing in the Pacific Ocean, 350 miles (560 kms) south-east of Samoa, on Tuesday (19 December), bringing with them what is expected to be the last man-gathered moon samples this century.
GV Capsule parachutes down
SCU Capsule and splashdown
LV Capsule and 'chutes is sea
LV ZOOM INTO GV Helicopter and frogman jumps into sea
GV Capsule with carrier in B/G
CU Capsule floats with frogmen around
LV Operation and onlookers on carrier
GV Capsule with astronaut getting into rig and being hoisted into helicopter.
GV Onlookers on carrier deck as helicopter returns and lands (2 shots)
SV Helicopter door opens and astronauts out and wave
Initials BB/2300 PK/BOB/BB/2345
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Background: Apollo-17 astronauts Eugene Cernan, Jack Schmitt and Ronald Evans splashed down to a perfect landing in the Pacific Ocean, 350 miles (560 kms) south-east of Samoa, on Tuesday (19 December), bringing with them what is expected to be the last man-gathered moon samples this century.
The perfect landing followed a virtually trouble-free mission that lasted just under 302 hours.
The three space travellers were pronounced fit by doctors shortly after they were lifted aboard the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga, standing half a mile off the splashdown point.
The excited astronauts' voices could be heard as their spacecraft cleared the radio blackout stage after the searing re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
First the drogue parachutes opened, followed by the three main parachutes as the capsule came into camera range, drifting through partly cloudy skies.
Cameras in a helicopter hovering above the spacecraft "America" caught the moment of impact as the capsule dropped gently into a light Pacific swell.
Divers dropped from helicopters standing by soon led the capsule safe, and just 30 minutes after splashdown, the hatch was opened to allow in the first fresh air the three astronauts had breathed since blast-off from Cape Kennedy just over 12 days ago.
One by one the astronauts were winched into the recovery helicopter and quickly flown the short distance to the Ticonderoga. They stepped on to the deck just 53 minutes after splashdown, ending man's greatest moon mission.
SYNOPSIS: The Apollo-17 capsule "America" floats down into the sea 350 miles south-east of Samoa, bringing to a close man's greatest moon mission. The perfect landing was covered spectacularly by cameras in a helicopter hovering over the splashdown area.
As the capsule bobbed gently in the Pacific swell, mission controllers and the Apollo astronauts Eugene Cernan, Jack Schmitt and Ronald Evans, gave voice to the release of tension that had built up during the radio black-out on re-entry. While divers set about making the capsule safe from danger of capsize, the astronauts could be heard joking and laughing between themselves. Half a mile away, the carrier Ticonderoga waited for their arrival.
Then the first fresh air in twelve days for the three astronauts as the hatch was opened. The sea air swept into the spacecraft's cabin just thirty minutes after splashdown, and one by one the astronauts were winched into the recovery helicopter.
They were quickly flown the short distance to the Ticonderoga, just under three- hundred-and-two hours after blast-off from Cape Kennedy.
As they stepped aboard the vessel at the end of man's greatest moon mission, they received a warm reception from the ship's company. There was also a subdued atmosphere that echoed the feeling that Apollo-17's successful flight marked the end of one of the most significant chapters in human history.