On This Day In Space: Aug. 11, 1960: 1st object successfully recovered from orbit (Image Credit: Space.com)
On Aug. 11, 1960, part of the Discoverer 13 satellite became the first human-made object to be recovered from Earth’s orbit.
The United States Department of Defense launched the mission as part of the C.I.A.’s Corona spy satellite program. They wanted to see if they could return a satellite’s instrument package to Earth safely and gently enough to retrieve the object intact.
The reentry capsule was a big, bowl-shaped hunk of metal that weighed about 120 pounds and contained only an American flag.
After deploying a heat shield and parachute, the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. A Navy helicopter pulled it out of the water and airlifted it to a ship, which brought it back to Pearl Harbor.
On This Day in Space Archive!
Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.