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Gemini 3

March 23, 1965

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Gemini-3

Pad LC-19 ()
Titan-II (3)

 

Crew:

Virgil I. Grissom (2), commander
John W. Young (1), pilot

 

Backup Crew:

Walter M. Schirra, Jr.
Thomas P. Stafford

 

CapCom:

L. Gordon Cooper (Cape)
Roger B. Chaffee (Houston)

 

Milestones:

 

Payload:

Gemini-3 capsule

 

Mission Objective:

Demonstrate manned orbital flight; evaluate two-man design. Demonstrate and evaluate tracking network. Demonstrate OAMS capability in orbital maneuvers and in retrofire backup. Demonstrate controlled reentry and landing. Evaluate major spacecraft subsystems. Demonstrate systems checkout, prelaunch, and launch procedures. Demonstrate and evaluate recovery procedures and systems. Spacecraft weight: 3225kg.

 

Secondary objectives included: Evaluate flight crew equipment, biomedical instrumentation, and personal hygiene system. Perform 3 experiments. Evaluate low-level longitudinal oscillations (Pogo) of the GLV. General photographic coverage in orbit.

 

Launch:

March 23, 1965 9:24:00.064 am EST. There was one brief hold on launch day while a sensor on an oxidizer line was adjusted.

 

 

Orbit:

Altitude: 224km
Inclination: 33.0 degrees
Orbits: 3
Duration: 0 Days, 4 hours, 52 min, 31 seconds
Distance:

 

Landing:

March 23, 1965. Landing at 22deg26m North and 70deg 51min West. Miss distance from landing zone 111.1km (60nm). Recovered by USS Intrepid. Crew onboard in 70 min.
 

Mission Highlights:

All primary objectives were achieved except the controlled reentry objective was only partially achieved. The angle of attack during reentry was lower than expected. Secondary objectives were only partially achieved. The personal hygiene system was only partially tested, Operating mechanism failed on S-2 - Synergistic Effect of Zero Gravity on Sea Urchin Eggs Experiment and the photographic coverage objective was only partially successful because of an improper lens setting on the 16mm camera.

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Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government.

 Project Gemini
 

Liftoff of Gemini 6A from Pad 19 with astronauts Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford aboard (15Dec65)

 

Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini operated between Projects Mercury and Apollo, with 10 manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966. Its objective was to develop techniques for advanced space travel, notably those necessary for Project Apollo, whose objective was to land humans on the Moon. Gemini missions included the first American spacewalks, and new orbital maneuvers including rendezvous and docking.

After the existing Apollo program was chartered by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961 to land men on the moon, it became evident to NASA officials that a follow-on to the Mercury program was required to develop certain spaceflight capabilities in support of Apollo. Originally introduced on December 7 as Mercury Mark II, it was re-christened Project Gemini on January 3, 1962. The major objectives were:

1. To demonstrate endurance of humans and equipment to spaceflight for extended periods, at least eight days required for a moon landing, to a maximum of two weeks.

2. To effect rendezvous and docking with another vehicle, and to maneuver the combined spacecraft using the propulsion system of the target vehicle.

3. To demonstrate Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), or space-"walks" outside the protection of the spacecraft, and to evaluate the astronauts' ability to perform tasks there.

4. To perfect techniques of atmospheric reentry and landing at a pre-selected location.

5. To provide the astronauts with zero-gravity and rendezvous and docking experience required for Apollo.

Gemini's primary difference from Mercury was that the earlier spacecraft had all systems other than the reentry rockets situated within the capsule, to which access of nearly all was through the astronaut's hatchway. In contrast, Gemini housed power, propulsion, and life support systems in a detachable Equipment Module located behind the Reentry Module, which made it similar to the Apollo Command / Service module design. Many components in the capsule itself were reachable through their own small access doors.

The original intention was for Gemini to land on solid ground instead of at sea, using a paraglider rather than a parachute, with the crew seated upright controlling the forward motion of the craft. To facilitate this, the paraglider did not attach just to the nose of the craft, but to an additional attachment point for balance near the heat shield. This cord was covered by a strip of metal which ran between the twin hatches. However, this design was ultimately dropped and parachutes were used in a conventional nose-up sea landing.

Early short-duration missions had their electrical power supplied by batteries; later endurance missions used the first fuel cells in manned spacecraft.
The "Gemini" designation comes from the fact that each spacecraft held two people, as "gemini" in Latin means "twins". Gemini is also the name of the third constellation of the Zodiac and its twin stars, Castor and Pollux.

Unlike Mercury, which could only change its orientation in space, the Gemini spacecraft could translate in all six directions, and alter its orbit. It was designed to dock with the Agena Target Vehicle, which had its own large rocket engine which was used to perform large orbital changes.
Gemini was the first American manned spacecraft to include an onboard computer, the Gemini Guidance Computer, to facilitate management and control of mission maneuvers. It was also unlike other NASA craft in that it used ejection seats, in-flight radar and an artificial horizon - devices borrowed from the aviation industry. Using ejection seats to push astronauts to safety was first employed by the Soviet Union in the Vostok craft manned by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
 

The Gemini program cost $5.4 billion.


Missions

 

There were 12 Gemini flights, including two unmanned flight tests. All were launched by Titan II rockets.

[edit]Unmanned

Mission LV Serial No Mission Dates Launch Time Duration Remarks
Gemini 1 GLV-1 12556 8 April-12, 1964 16:01 UTC 03d 23h First test flight of Gemini
Gemini 2 GLV-2 12557 19 January 1965 14:03 UTC 00d 00h 18m 16s Suborbital flight to test heat shield

[edit]Manned

Mission LV Serial No Command Pilot Pilot Mission Dates Launch Time Duration
Gemini III GLV-3 12558 Grissom Young 23 March 1965 14:24 UTC 00d 04h 52m 31s
First manned Gemini flight, three orbits.
Gemini IV GLV-4 12559 McDivitt White 3-7 June, 1965 15:15 UTC 04d 01h 56m 12s
Included first extravehicular activity (EVA) by an American; White's "space walk" was a 22 minute EVA exercise.
Gemini V GLV-5 12560 Cooper Conrad 21-29 August, 1965 13:59 UTC 07d 22h 55m 14s
First week-long flight; first use of fuel cells for electrical power; evaluated guidance and navigation system for future rendezvous missions. Completed 120 orbits.
Gemini VII GLV-7 12562 Borman Lovell 4-18 December, 1965 19:30 UTC 13d 18h 35m 01s
When the original Gemini VI mission was scrubbed because its Agena target for rendezvous and docking failed, Gemini VII was used for the rendezvous instead. Primary objective was to determine whether humans could live in space for 14 days.
Gemini VI-A GLV-6 12561 Schirra Stafford 15-16 December, 1965 13:37 UTC 01d 01h 51m 24s
First space rendezvous accomplished with Gemini VII, station-keeping for over five hours at distances from 0.3 to 90 m (1 to 300 ft).
Gemini VIII GLV-8 12563 Armstrong Scott 16-17 March, 1966 16:41 UTC 00d 10h 41m 26s
Accomplished first docking with another space vehicle, an unmanned Agena stage. While docked, a Gemini spacecraft thruster malfunction caused near-fatal tumbling of the craft, which, after undocking, Armstrong was able to overcome; the crew effected the first emergency landing of a manned U.S. space mission.
Gemini IX-A GLV-9 12564 Stafford Cernan 3-6 June, 1966 13:39 UTC 03d 00h 21m 50s
Rescheduled from May to rendezvous and dock with augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) after original Agena target vehicle failed to orbit. ATDA shroud did not completely separate, making docking impossible. Three different types of rendezvous, two hours of EVA, and 44 orbits were completed.
Gemini X GLV-10 12565 Young Collins 18-21 July, 1966 22:20 UTC 02d 22h 46m 39s
First use of Agena target vehicle's propulsion systems. Spacecraft also rendezvoused with Gemini VIII target vehicle. Collins had 49 minutes of EVA standing in the hatch and 39 minutes of EVA to retrieve experiment from Agena stage. 43 orbits completed.
Gemini XI GLV-11 12566 Conrad Gordon 12-15 September, 1966 14:42 UTC 02d 23h 17m 08s
Gemini record altitude, 1,189.3 km (739.2 mi) reached using Agena propulsion system after first orbit rendezvous and docking. Gordon made 33-minute EVA and two-hour standup EVA. 44 orbits.
Gemini XII GLV-12 12567 Lovell Aldrin 11-15 November, 1966 20:46 UTC 03d 22h 34m 31s
Final Gemini flight. Rendezvoused and docked manually with its target Agena and kept station with it during EVA. Aldrin set an EVA record of 5 hours 30 minutes for one space walk and two stand-up exercises, and demonstrated improvements to previous EVA problems.

From Wikipedia 4-10-2010
 


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