Council member looks back on Apollo 14 recovery mission

(Scarlett Lisjak)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin successfully blasted off to space today, landing on the same week Apollo 11 made it to the moon 52 years ago. For Rapid City Councilman for Ward Two, Ritchie Nordstrom this anniversary brings back memories of his role in space history.

Nordstrom was on board the USS New Orleans in 1972, while on a two week mission he helped recover NASA’s Apollo 14 astronauts. Nordstrom says he can still hear the boom that took place when the spacecraft collided with Earth.

”Out there on the ocean there is horizon to horizon of nothing but water, and then hearing this sonic boom taking place, and ultimately the splash down, I got to be on the correct side, the opportunity side of the ship to watch the splashdown, and the helicopter taking off and going out to retrieve the astronauts,” Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom adds that what stood out to him was seeing the astronauts peering out the windows from where they were quarantined as they got reacquainted with Earth’s gravity.

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