Russian Space Capsule Recovery
These images record the recovery of a Russian Resurs-500 space capsule in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Washington State on November 22, 1992.

Also included are some other photos taken during the 5 days I spent aboard the Russian Navy ship "Marshal Krylov." I was fortunate enough to have talked my way into getting on board the Krylov for this recovery effort.

A storm was moving in as we prepared to leave from Grays Harbor by helicopter at the start of the trip. Winds were gusting to 30-50 miles per hour. Our pilot, Doug Uttecht of Aerocopter, Inc., had never landed on a ship at sea, so he asked for volunteers for the first flight out. Of course, I stepped forward. I didn't know any better.

Another passenger, publicist Bill Sears, had flown 35 missions during World War II, and he later said they all passed in front of his eyes during this flight.

I was first off the helicopter, too, making me the first Westerner to land on a Russian Navy ship while at sea. I was afraid I'd do something that would embarrass me, so I concentrated on maintaining my composure and dignity. Noting this, the Russians mistook me for the guy in charge of this operation. None of them present on the flight deck spoke English, so it took a while to straighten them out. They then bustled us off to the Admiral's cabin, where we toasted the success of the event with chocolates and Armenian cognac.

The recovery itself took place under difficult conditions, with winds approaching 50 knots and waves sometimes as high as 12 meters (about 40 feet).

This capsule now resides in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.
55 photos · 1,764 views