Primary objective was to rendezvous with Gemini-VII.
Secondary objectives included: Perform closed-loop rendezvous in
fourth orbit. Stationkeep with Gemini VII. Evaluate reentry guidance
capability. Conduct visibility tests for rendezvous, using Gemini VII
as target. Perform 3 experiments. Spacecraft weight 3546kg.
Dec 15, 1965 8:37:26.471 am EST. Due to a Gemini Agena target
vehicle (GATV) propulsion failure on 25 Oct, 1965 the mission was
rescheduled. The Agena target vehicle Gemini Agena target vehicle
GATV-5002 and TLV 5301 with which the Gemini-VI-A
was to rendezvous and dock, failed to go into orbit. A launch attempt
on Dec 12, 1965 failed because of a minor launch vehicle hardware
Altitude: 311.3km (168.1 nm)
Inclination: 28.89 degrees
Duration: 1 Day, 1 hour, 51 min, 24 seconds
December 16, 1965. Landing was at 23deg 35min North and 67deg 50min
West. Miss distance was 12.9km (7nm). Recovered by the USS Wasp (crew
onboard in 66min).
All primary objectives were achieved. Secondary objective on
experiment D-8 Radiation in Spacecraft because stationkeeping with Gemini-VII
interfered with the experiment.
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
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
4. To perfect techniques of atmospheric reentry and landing at a pre-selected
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.
There were 12 Gemini flights, including two unmanned flight tests. All were
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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