Aerospace Legacy Foundation

Your portal to America's aerospace history

Aerospace Legacy Foundation (ALF) is a community based non-profit organization (501c3) including aerospace retirees and the public at large. Preserving Southern California's Aerospace and Aviation History including Downey's aerospace legacy.

Project Gemini

 

GeminiPatch collect space.jpg

Gemini was an early NASA human spaceflight program. Gemini helped NASA get ready for the Apollo moon landings. Ten crews flew missions on the two-man Gemini spacecraft. The Gemini missions were flown in 1965 and 1966. They flew between the Mercury and Apollo programs. Source- NASA

Above- President John F. Kennedy looks over a Gemini space capsule with Astronaut John Young

Below- On Jan. 3, 1962, the newly announced Mercury Mark II project was renamed Project Gemini. This artist's concept of a two-person Gemini spacecraft in flight shows a cutaway view. Gemini paved the way for Apollo, and had four main goals: to test an astronaut's ability to fly long-duration missions (up to two weeks in space); to understand how spacecraft could rendezvous and dock in orbit around the Earth and the Moon; to perfect re-entry and landing methods; and to further understand the effects of longer space flights on astronauts. NASA

Above- An Artist Concept illustrating a see-through, cutaway view of the 2-Man Gemini Spacecraft. MSC, HOUSTON, TX

What Spacecraft Were Used for the Gemini Program?


NASA designed the Gemini capsule for this program. On the outside, it looked much like the capsule used for the Mercury missions. It was bigger than the Mercury capsule. It could hold two people instead of one. But each astronaut did not have much room. The Gemini capsule improved on the Mercury spacecraft. Basically, the Mercury spacecraft could change only the way it was facing in its orbit. The Gemini could change what orbit it was in.

NASA named the Gemini spacecraft and program after the constellation Gemini. The name is Latin for "twins." NASA used this name because the Gemini capsule would carry two people.

The Gemini capsule flew on a Titan II rocket. The two-stage Titan II was originally a missile. NASA made changes to the missile so it could carry people. Before the first astronauts flew on it, it launched without a crew so that NASA could test its safety. Source- NASA

Above- An Artist Concept illustrating the comparative sizes of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Spacecraft and their launch vehicles.

MSC, HOUSTON, TX . Image- NASA

Above- Artist Concept of Gemini Spacecraft with two Astronauts seated at the controls. 1964. Image- NASA

  Gemini capsule being tested in Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel. Nov. 1962.    NASA Langley

Gemini capsule being tested in Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel. Nov. 1962.

NASA Langley

  Gemini capsule being tested in 11 inch hypersonic wind tunnel.     NASA Langley

Gemini capsule being tested in 11 inch hypersonic wind tunnel. 

NASA Langley

  Scale model of Gemini capsule and deployed parawing in 1963

Scale model of Gemini capsule and deployed parawing in 1963

  Visual Docking Simulator From A.W. Vogeley, "Piloted Space-Flight Simulation at Langley Research Center,"

Visual Docking Simulator From A.W. Vogeley, "Piloted Space-Flight Simulation at Langley Research Center,"

  Cockpit Simulator Gemini Display and Controller 1963.

Cockpit Simulator Gemini Display and Controller 1963.

  Titan with Gemini capsule in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel. NASA Langley

Titan with Gemini capsule in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel. NASA Langley

"Imagine you and a co-worker sitting in the front seats of an old VW Beetle.  You close the doors and proceed to live in that confined space non-stop for several days.  You cannot leave to go to the restroom, to eat, or to bathe.  Imagine that you have radio headsets on and every word you say is being recorded.  Imagine that a team of doctors have attached sensors to numerous places on your body.  Imagine that the car's air conditioning doesn't work very well, the car is sitting in the hot sun, and you have to wear a heavy, insulated jumpsuit.  There is nothing you can do as the temperature rises.  Imagine that, though the car's engine is running, in gear, and the car is in motion, the steering column is turned to the right and you are going around in large circles, watching the same scenery go by again and again and again.  Now imagine sitting in the car for two straight weeks. 
If you can imagine these requirements and conditions, you might just have an inkling of what it was like to be one of the Gemini astronauts, a few of which flew the long-duration, 14-day missions.

Project Gemini was the follow-on to Project Mercury.  Originally named Mercury Mark II, the project would put two men into space atop the Titan booster.  Gemini would end up being the nearly forgotten project in between the Mercury missions that first put Americans into space, and the Apollo missions that put Americans on the moon.  But in Project Gemini, America first caught and then lapped the Soviets in the race to the moon.  Gemini proved the concepts, principles and the technologies that would make landing a man on the moon, and returning him safely to earth, possible: Long-duration spaceflight, walking in space, orbital rendezvous, docking, and working in the zero gravity vacuum of space.

Twenty Americans, three of whom were of the original seven Mercury astronauts, flew into space on ten Gemini missions.  To undertake the race to the moon, NASA would need more astronauts, so first the New Nine, and then others were brought aboard to fly the Gemini and Apollo missions."
Tapatalk .com

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What Happened on the Gemini Missions?

Astronauts accomplished many things on the Gemini missions. The first flight to carry astronauts was Gemini 3 (also known as Gemini-Titan 3 or GT-3). That flight tested the new vehicle. The Gemini 4 mission included the first U.S. spacewalk. Gemini 5 stayed in orbit for more than a week. The Gemini 6A and 7 missions were in space at the same time and met each other in orbit. Gemini 7 stayed in space for two weeks. Gemini 8 connected with another unmanned spacecraft in orbit.

The Gemini 9 mission tested different ways of flying near another spacecraft. It also included a spacewalk. Gemini 10 connected with another spacecraft and used its engines to move both vehicles. The Gemini 11 mission flew higher than any NASA mission before. The last mission, Gemini 12, solved problems from earlier spacewalks. Source- NASA

A photograph of the Gemini VII spacecraft - nose towards camera - was taken from the Gemini VI spacecraft during rendezvous and station keeping maneuvers 1965.jpg

Above- A photograph of the Gemini VII spacecraft - nose towards camera - was taken from the Gemini VI spacecraft during rendezvous and station keeping maneuvers in 1965. NASA

Gemini 7 spacecraft was taken from the hatch window of the Gemini 6 spacecraft during rendezvous and station-keeping maneuvers 1965.jpg

Why Was The Gemini Program Important?


Before Gemini, NASA had limited experience in space. The Mercury missions had proved astronauts could fly in space.

But before people could land on the moon, NASA had to learn many things. It had to learn what happened when astronauts spent many days in space. It had to learn how astronauts could go outside a spacecraft in a spacesuit. It had to learn how to connect two spacecraft together in space. Going to the moon would require doing all of these things. Before Gemini, NASA had not done any of them. Gemini proved NASA could do them all.

More Here From NASA

  Image- DK Find Out

Image- DK Find Out

Below- On Dec. 26, 1963, ownership of this facility officially was transferred from the U.S. Air Force to NASA. Now called the Mission Control Center, it continued to be the flight control through the first three missions of Project Gemini

  Mission Control Center- Dec. 26, 1963

Mission Control Center- Dec. 26, 1963

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Gemini Program Images

Images from  NASA and Archive .org

Project Gemini was NASA's second human spaceflight program. Conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, Gemini started in 1961 and concluded in 1966. The Gemini spacecraft carried a two-astronaut crew. Wiki

  Above- The first crewed Gemini flight, Gemini III, lifted off Launch Pad 19 at 9:24 a.m. EST on March 23, 1965. The spacecraft "Molly Brown" carried astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, command pilot, and John W. Young, pilot, on three orbits of Earth.

Above- The first crewed Gemini flight, Gemini III, lifted off Launch Pad 19 at 9:24 a.m. EST on March 23, 1965. The spacecraft "Molly Brown" carried astronauts Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, command pilot, and John W. Young, pilot, on three orbits of Earth.

Images- NASA and Archive .org

  Above- Astronauts Edward H. White II (left) and James A. McDivitt inside the Gemini IV spacecraft wait for liftoff.  1965

Above- Astronauts Edward H. White II (left) and James A. McDivitt inside the Gemini IV spacecraft wait for liftoff.  1965

Gemini: Bridge to the Moon

Just as Orion and the International Space Station are helping NASA learn how to go to Mars, the Gemini program defined and tested the skills NASA would need to go to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. Gemini had four main goals: to test an astronaut's ability to fly long-duration missions (up to two weeks in space); to understand how spacecraft could rendezvous and dock in orbit around the Earth and the moon; to perfect re-entry and landing methods; and to further understand the effects of longer space flights on astronauts. Source- NASA

Gallery: Gemini, Bridge to the Moon

 

 

  Above- Astronaut Edward H. White II, pilot for the Gemini-Titan 4 space flight, floats in zero gravity of space. 1965

Above- Astronaut Edward H. White II, pilot for the Gemini-Titan 4 space flight, floats in zero gravity of space. 1965