Training ‘Guardian Angels’
In this image, U.S. Air Force “Guardian Angel” Pararescue specialists secure a covered life raft, during an astronaut rescue training exercise off of Florida’s eastern coast in April, 2018. The specially designed 20-person life raft is equipped with enough food, water and medical supplies to sustain both rescuers and crew for up to three days, if necessary.
Ted Mosteller, leader of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Landing and Recovery Team, described the multi-agency operation as “like insurance. You have insurance on your car or house, but you hope you never have to use it.”
Rescue and recovery involves meticulous planning and close coordination between NASA, the Department of Defense, and company recovery teams from NASA’s commercial partners, Boeing and SpaceX. Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft are being developed and tested to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station, from U.S. soil. In the event of a variety of contingency landings, an elite team is prepared to rescue the crew anywhere in the world.