19 December 1979 – 12 days, 13 hours, 51 minutes, and 59 seconds after the Apollo 17 command module America left Cape Canaveral, it splashed down in the South Pacific Ocean.

“The three 83 foot, 6-inch diameter (25.451 meters) ring sail main parachutes had deployed at an altitude of 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) and slowed the capsule to 22 miles per hour (35.4 kilometers per hour) before it hit the ocean’s surface.

The landing had a high degree of accuracy, coming within 4.0 miles (6.44 kilometers) of the recovery ship, the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14).

n Apollo 17 astronaut is hoisted aboard the hovering Sikorsky SH-3G Sea King, Bu. No. 149930. USS Ticonderoga stands by. (NASA)

The flight crew was picked up by a Sikorsky SH-3G Sea King helicopter, Bu. No. 149930, of HC-1, and transported to Ticonderoga. The three astronauts, Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald A. Evans, and Harrison H. Schmitt, stepped aboard the aircraft carrier 52 minutes after splashdown.

The splashdown of Apollo 17 brought to an end the era of manned exploration of the Moon which had begun just 3 years, 3 days, 5 hours, 52 minutes, 59 seconds earlier with the launch of Apollo 11.”(1)

Source (1) ThisDayinAviation c. by Bryan R. Swopes

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