NASA's Apollo modules, the ones that went to the moon, had a fairly standard-for-the-time reentry method: Hit the atmosphere at the right angle, deploy a parachute after things are done burning up, and land gently upon the ocean.
Here's the main problem I can see: That parachute has to work. Otherwise, you have some fairly serious problems - such as water being like concrete if you hit it going very fast. And the Apollo modules where going very fast.
Did any of the Apollo missions include a backup parachute in case the main one didn't deploy properly?