A paraglider setup was tested a possible landing solution for Project Gemini. The capsule was, infact, intended to land that way, but was changed to go with the more conventional splashdown. Gliding in allowed for a potentially softer landing for the spacecraft and crew and saved on the costs of deploying an aircraft carrier. Lest we forget, Gemini is pretty much the most bad ass space program the US has run. Two years of flights consisting of hardcore research and testing. This is coming from a guy who uses a staging Saturn V as his avatar. Gemini was awesome.
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