Astronaut Alan B. Shepard is hoisted aboard a US Marine helicopter after splashdown of his 'Freedom 7' Mercury space capsule in 1961. NASA
Surrounded by medical personnel, seated from left to right are space tourist Guy Laliberte, Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Michael Barratt. They had landed minutes before at 12:32 a.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz capsule near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on Oct. 11. NASA/Bill Ingalls
Space shuttle Endeavour kicks up dust as it touches down at Edwards Air Force Base in California to end the STS-126 mission, completing its 16-day journey of over 6.6 million miles in space. NASA/Tony Landis
This Apollo 8 reentry photograph was taken by a US Air Force ALOTS (Airborne Lightweight Optical Tracking System) camera mounted on a KC-135A aircraft flown at 40,000 ft. Apollo 8 splashed down at 10:15 a.m., December 27, 1968, in the central Pacific approximately 1,000 miles South-Southwest of Hawaii. NASA
An Apollo command module boilerplate, a nonfunctional spacecraft used for testing, floats in the Atlantic Ocean during a practice recovery exercise. Frogmen in a liferaft and on the flotation collar secure the boilerplate for hoisting onto a nearby recovery ship. The exercise was conducted in preparation for the forthcoming Apollo-Saturn 201 (AS-201) mission. NASA
After returning to earth after just over 13 days in orbit for the 1965 Gemini 7 mission, astronauts James A. Lovell Jr., (l.), pilot, and Frank Borman (r.), command pilot, slice into a huge cake that was part of their warm welcome after arriving aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Wasp. Sailors gather around to watch the cake cutting. NASA
Disney's space ranger Buzz Lightyear returned from space aboard space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission after 15 months aboard the International Space Station. While on the station, Buzz supported NASA's education outreach program STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) by creating a series of fun educational online outreach programs. NASA Photo/Tony Landis
Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper Jr. is hoisted up to a US Navy helicopter during recovery operations in the Atlantic Ocean after the record-setting eight-day Gemini V mission. NASA
This view of a sunrise dissecting a line of airglow of Earth's atmosphere was taken as Russia's Mir space station was on a descending track toward Johnston Island in the central Pacific Ocean. The photo was brought back to Earth by astronaut Andrew S.W. Thomas, who spent four months aboard Mir before returning home with the STS-91 crew aboard Discovery. NASA and Russian Aviation and Space Agency.
Space Shuttle Discovery, accompanied by a convoy of recovery vehicles, is towed up the taxiway at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California, following its landing on August 9, 2005. NASA
This closeup view shows the charred heat shield of the Apollo Spacecraft 017 Command Module aboard the U.S.S. Bennington in 1967, as part of the unmanned Apollo 4 mission. The damage was caused by the extreme heat of reentry. NASA
When they speed up to a lumbering ship, the main thing Somalian pirates do not want to see are armed guards. With fewer ships now being boarded in the Indian Ocean, security analysts are giving credit to the hiring of private guards who quickly display their defensive weapons on the deck of a ship as it gets scoped out by potential attackers in pirate skiffs.