Mercury 13's famous Wally Funk is going to space with Jeff Bezos and the Blue Origin crew


Staff member

Much is being overlooked on how technology and International law in respect to manned space flight has changed since Project Mercury, 1958 through 1963.

There are many reasons the International waters of the oceans was the decided primary landing and recovery area for the U.S. manned space flights. Shortest explanation is the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies didn’t come into force until 10 October 1967. Certainly wanted to avoid the political intrique of a manned space flight landing due an emergency somewhere in the Soviet Union or mainland China during the hieght of the Cold War. Also, there was much concern of legal liabilities should a launch or landing go awry and cause significant damage in a heavily populated area. This left very few places suitable for avoiding overfly of densely populated areas on launch or landing. The manned spacecraft prior to the shuttle weren’t very aerodynamically maneuverable and computer technology wasn’t sufficiently miniaturized and developed to do allow rapid changes to new unplanned for recovery zone.

There is also a USAF pararescue connection to the "Woman in Space Program" of the 1960s as now deceased BGeneral Donald D. Flickinger who was advisor to the NASA manned space flight program was an advocate of the woman in Space Program and also involved in the selecting and training of these women astronauts. This is the same Donald D. Flickenger credited with making the first parachute rescue team jump behind Japanese lines to rescue aircrew and passengers of a crashed C-46, tail number 41-12420 in the CBI theater in August 1943. Recognition of his contribution to the establishing of the Air Force Pararescue occupation specialty during the period 1947 thru 1954 is apparent in the creation of the Don Flickenger Trophy in 1954.
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