The NEWSWEEK cover of the June 4, 1962 issue featured Scott Carpenter's Mercury mission, the second American orbital manned flight into space. Contents of the magazine included a detailed description of Carpenter's space flight. The peril of the reentry is included in the article. Especially interesting is the explanation of the mishap which led to a splashdown approximately 250 miles downrange from the planned Atlantic recovery location. A paraphrase of the NEWSWEEK account follows:
The return of the Mercury capsule from orbit requires firing of braking or "retro" rockets. When fired at the appropriate time and angle, they determine the correct landing point of the spacecraft. The correct pitch angle for the Mercury capsule retro rockets firing is 34 degrees with respect to the horizon. Apparently, the rockets were fired five seconds too late at the shallower angle of 26 degrees. This resulted in the additional 250 miles of orbit beyond the designated landing point.