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Nothing But the Facts About NASA's Project Gemini

written by: johnsinit•edited by: RC Davison•updated: 3/31/2009

The 10 manned missions of Project Gemini, announced in 1962 and believedby some to be superior to even the Apollo project, succeeded in many firsts, including: orbital docking, EVA and orbital stay of almost 14 days by astronauts. Read on for more facts!

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    Gemini Project Images

    Gemini InsigniaGemini 6 seen from Gemini 7Gemini Capsule chartGemini VIII launch
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    The Facts

    Gemini Program Period: The Gemini Program operated from 1965 to 1966

    Primary Mission Objective: Testing the crew and equipment for long-term space flights

    Secondary Mission Objectives: Docking orbiting vehicles, vehicle navigation, mastering atmospheric entry, landing in pre-selected site, extra-vehicular activity

    Goal achieved: June, 7 1965 (Gemini IV)

    Name Origin: Gemini – third constellation of Zodiac, featuring twin stars Castor and Pollux (the spacecrafts were designed for a crew of 2)

    Program Cost: 5.4 billion (2007)

    Spacecraft Crew: Two – command pilot, pilot

    Spacecraft Designed By: Jim Chamberlin, Canadian aerospace engineer

    Spacecraft Dimensions: Diameter 10 ft (3.05m), Volume 90 cubic feet (2.55 cubic meters)

    Spacecraft Weight: 8490 lb (3851kg)

    Spacecraft Maximum Duration: 14 days

    Spacecraft Orbital Apogee: 250 miles (402 km)

    Spacecraft Orbital Perigee: 100 miles (160 km)

    Boosters: Titan II rockets

    Total Spacecraft Produced: 12, by McDonnel Aircraft company

    Robotic Flights: 2

    First Unmanned Flight: April 8-12, 1964

    First Unmanned Flight Duration: 3 days, 23 hours

    Manned Flights: 10

    First Manned Flight: March 23, 1965

    First Manned Flight Duration: 4 hours, 52 minutes, 31 seconds

    First Manned Flight Mission: Gemini -Titan III

    First Manned Flight Crew: Virgil Ivan “Grus” Grisson, John Watts Young

    Second Manned Flight: June 3-7 1965

    Second Manned Flight Duration: 4 days 1 hour 56minutes 20 seconds

    Second Manned Flight Crew: James Alton McDivitt, Edward Higgins White II – first American to walk in space (22 minutes EVA)

    Notable Mission: Gemini VIII – first docking in space

    Gemini VIII Crew: Neil Alden Armstrong, David Randolph Scott

    Last Flight: November 11-15, 1966

    Last Flight Duration: 3 day 22 hours 34 minutes 31 seconds

    Last Flight Mission: Gemini XII

    Last Flight Crew: James Arthur Lovell, Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin. – record EVA (5 hours 30 minutes)

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    Interesting data

    NASA and USAF were initially required to have a joint control of the program, but later the supervision was handed solely to NASA.

    Gemini was the first American space mission to have an onboard computer.

    A member of Mercury-7 group, astronaut Gus Grissom was heavily involved in the Gemini program.

    All but one Gemini vehicle (Gemini 1 was destroyed) are exhibited in various venues in the US – including US Air Force museum and NASA museum.

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