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American Samoa and Apollo 10
In this way, the News Bulletin of American Samoa, Monday, May 26, 1969, registered the Apollo 10 astronauts' comeback to Earth. The Apollo 10 flamed across the South Pacific sky this mornings and landed 340 leagues eastwards of Tutuila, ending the most accomplished spacecraft in historical time.
Thousands of locals fringed the south shore and got a glimpse of the flaming spaceship as it re-entered the Earth's sphere. The United Press International reported from the Houston Center when the plane first saw the Apollo 10. The Apollo 10 was seen by the USS Carrier Princeton, the lifeboat's team.
Even when the spaceship struck the sea, which was quiet with soft waves, the helicopter floated from Princeton, about three mile from the splash down, waiting to collect the spacecraft. "Hello, recovery," said astronaut Thomas Stafford. "we' re telling you we'd be right there.... how far did we miss it?
Shortly after the crash the spacecraft door was opened as the floats got off the choppers and put a floating neck around them. Soon after, the cosmonauts abandoned it and boarded a float, but shortly afterwards they were torn off the float and hoisted into a heliplane. At 6:34 a.m., the three spacemen boarded the Princeton decks.
They were shaved clean for the first ever in the annals of astronautics. They will be within hailing distance this afternoons and the spacemen will take a flight by helo to Tafuna International Aerodrome for a large but short welcome reception around 4 pm.
Dedicated communication facilities have been set up at the airports so that they can transmit and archive their histories. An astronaut will be arriving at the airfield in the next three helidecks. You will be welcomed by Governor Owen S. Aspinall, Mrs Aspinall, Maria Tia, who was Miss American Samoa in 1968, and Fatima Langkilde, Miss American Samoa in 1969.
Every cosmonaut will answer briefly and then they will take a 13-hour non-stop airplane to the Space Center in Houston, where the medical studies that began at Princeton this mornings will be continued. Apollo 10 was a test for the Apollo 11 spacecraft that will come in July and aims to bring two spacemen to the South.
While Apollo 10 was orbiting the Earth, Stafford and astronaut Gene Cernan abandoned the spacecraft and floated within 50,000 ft of the Moon's orbiter. The information collected during the spacecraft flight will lead the Apollo 11-astronomic crew to the Earth's orbiter. "Here are two photos from the tour of the Apollo 10s.
On the first one you can see the stars who pose with Governor Owen S. Aspinall and his wife Aspinall. In the second image are Samoan dignitaries (from right to lefthand, Chiefs Salanoa, Mauga and LeFiti), Navy officers and Samoan beauty during the astronaut welcome ceremonies. When the Apollo 10 arrived at Pago Pago International Airport and finished their journey to the lunar journey, a fire dance animated things.
An Apollo 10 cartoon from the Samoa Times, week from May 23 to 29, 1969. On the next news bulletin of American Samoa, Tuesday, May 27, 1969, the next news bulletin of American Samoa reports about the arrivals and departures of American Samoa to and from each other. Apollo 10 stars arrived in Houston this mornings after a non-stop service from Tafuna airport and used the tens of Quis and ufas they were given here last night.
The United Press International said that once Thomas Stafford, John Young and Eugene Cernan had abandoned their Air Force jets, they hurried to their homes and began to hang the Quis and ufas on their children's neck. This was a suitable return for the three cosmonauts after the most successfull spacecraft in all time, a final test for the Apollo 11 missions, which will try to bring two men to the lunar surface in July.
The colourful welcome at Tafuna International was just as popular as the lunar flights and the three spacemen were clearly fascinated by the Samoan host. There were three spacecraft and a forth one with news people landing at 4:10. At that point, the crowds at the airfield were filling the grass in front of the terminal and spilling it onto the airstrip.
One pan-American aircraft on its way to New Zealand was slowed down and its passengers followed suit. The German Embassy in New Zealand, Kurt Luedde-Neurath, came just before the stars and followed the team. The Governor and Mrs. Owen S. Aspinall welcomed Stafford, who got off the first helo.
Then the governor kept his pledge made to the spacemen on the way from Monday Sunday by radio. Obviously the cosmonauts, who seemed a little weary, but lucky, had fun. Mrs Wanda Miles, the governor's secretary and one of the dancing girls, stepped forward and put a kiss on the stars and squeaked them.
Then the governor accompanied the three spacemen to the deck, which was adorned with tapas and torch-ginger, and the Fagasa group performed the national anthem and American Samoa. Then, he recounted to the cosmonauts that the American Samoaans, whose prayer had accompanied them on their eight-day journey to the lunar journey, were grateful for their reward.
The lunar flight was the product of a half a million teamwork, Stafford said. Praising America's beauty of nature, he glanced at the green hills in the back and said: "I don't know why we want to go to the moons.... or anywhere else but here.
We spend three and a half day circling the lunar surface and looking at craters," he said. "and I can tell you that the lunar will never be a second American Samoa. "The governor then accompanied the cosmonauts through the reception line. He gave the visitor two feet of Paopao and writing table signs with Samoan folk and mini-palms.
Then the group went to the Air Force Aircraft, which waited to take the spacemen to Houston. These three came into play even more by beckoning the aircrew and claiming they would stay in American Samoa. During the welcome reception, a faded, almost translucent crescent which Stafford and Cernan had come close to within 50,000 ft during their lunar landing approach was hanging above the Aiport.
The Apollo 10 Link: The Apollo 10 Link: The Apollo 10 photos on the NASA Johnson Space Center website.