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Sunday, 25th September  2022 1:15:am

Apollo01What, you might ask, is the Cook Islands connection with the Apollo space programme?Apollo02
Well, the Cook Islands is the only territory in the world outside of the United States within whose geographic boundaries Apollo space flights regularly splashed down.
The Cook Islands comprise the area between 6 degrees to 23 degrees south latitude and 156 degrees and 167 degrees west longitude, an area of over 1,800,000 square kilometres).
Two flights after the first Moon landing by the astronauts on Apollo 11, the damaged Apollo 13 splashed down safely just to the west of Rarotonga in early 1970. Several other Apollo flights landed in other Cook Islands areas, or just to the north of the Cook Islands, and aircraft flew over the Cook Islands to monitor all the Apollo landings.
The astronauts of Apollo 15 named their space capsule "Endeavour" after the ship of Captain James Cook, namesake of the Cook Islands, and one of the later space shuttles was also named "Endeavour".
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, was a regular visitor to the Cook Islands. He is a good friend of local resident Tap Pryor, a former marine biologist and founder of the Sea Life Park in Hawaii, who has lived in the Cook Islands for over 20 years.

Aitutaki Lagoon