Pat Shingleton: "Splash Down Change-Up..."
This week’s anniversary didn’t include the successful splashdown of the Apollo 11 mission that couldn’t have occurred without the guidance of Captain Hank Brandli. Brandli was a U.S. Air Force meteorologist who analyzed classified information for the secretive Corona reconnaissance satellite program that was de-classified in 1995. It was one of the Cold War’s spy-projects that photographed “denied” areas such as the Soviet Union and China. Brandli convinced his superiors that bringing the Apollo 11 capsule into its original splashdown location would be disastrous. His classified photos showed severe thunderstorms topping at 50,000 feet that would have shredded the capsule’s parachutes, killing the astronauts as they crashed into the ocean. His expertise initiated a new splashdown location and the USS Hornet was re-positioned for retrieval.