AmericaSpace Launch Countdown

Next Launch ORB-3 on a Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA
scheduled for:
27 Oct 14 22:44:00 GMT
27 Oct 14 18:44:00 EDT

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Date With an Alligator: The Trials of Gemini IX-A (Part 2)

Gene Cernan’s EVA was the longest to date, by far the most complex … and intrinsically hazardous. Photo Credit: NASA

Almost five decades ago, one of the hairiest and most difficult missions in America’s space history unfolded. Gemini IX-A was already complex—a three-day flight, involving rendezvous, docking, maneuvering, and spacewalking—but had endured additional challenges: [...]

Popeye Forearms: The Challenge of Gemini IX-A (Part 1)

An exhausted Gene Cernan can barely manage a grimace for Tom Stafford’s camera after completing his spacewalk on Gemini IX-A. Had the hands of fate played out a little differently, this seat might instead have been occupied by Charlie Bassett. Photo Credit: NASA

In the late spring of 1966, the Gemini IX mission seemed [...]

Gemini 3 and the Fortune of John Young (Part 2)

Aboard a recovery helicopter after their splashdown on 23 March 1965, Gus Grissom (left) became the first man to record two space missions and John Young concluded the first flight in one of the most dramatic space careers of all time. Photo Credit: NASA

At just under five hours, the mission of Gemini 3 [...]

Gemini 3 and the Misfortune of Al Shepard (Part 1)

In addition to carrying the equipment of the prime crew, Gemini 3 backups Wally Schirra (third from the right) and Tom Stafford (second from right) saw to it that they fulfilled the mission’s humor requirements. As a result, Gemini 3 would forever come to be known as “The Corned Beef Sandwich Mission.” Photo Credit: [...]

'Tumbling End Over End': The Trauma of Gemini VIII (Part 2)

Dave Scott (left) and Neil Armstrong breathe the fresh air of Earth as the hatches of Gemini VIII are opened after splashdown. Photo Credit: NASA

Forty-eight years ago today, Gemini VIII astronauts Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott accomplished a key goal in America’s bid to land a man on the Moon by successfully rendezvousing [...]

'A Finite Number of Heartbeats': The Trauma of Gemini VIII (Part 1)

Neil Armstrong (left) and Dave Scott sought to fulfil many of the objectives needed to reach the Moon, including orbital rendezvous and docking. They were the only Gemini crew whose two members both walked on the Moon later in their careers. Photo Credit: NASA

At the dawn of 1966, America’s drive to land a [...]

To Swim in Space: The World’s First Spacewalk (Part 2)

Pictured on the pad at Baikonur, shortly before launch, Voskhod-2 was the Soviet Union’s last major space “first” of the 1960s. The blister at the top of the payload shroud, housing the craft’s airlock, is clearly visible. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

On 18 March 1965, a representative of humanity gained a view that only God or another [...]

To Swim in Space: The World’s First Spacewalk (Part 1)

Forty-nine years ago this month, Alexei Leonov became the first human to see the Earth, unhindered by the confines of a spacecraft, as God or another space traveller might see it. The experience almost cost him his life. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

From the moment he saw it, Alexei Leonov was captivated. He and a dozen other [...]

Of Minds & Men: The First Rendezvous in Space (Part 2)

Beautiful view of Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford’s Gemini VI-A spacecraft, viewed by astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell aboard Gemini VII. Schirra’s gutsy decision to sit tight after the 12 December pad abort ensured that this historic rendezvous mission could go ahead. Photo Credit: NASA

“It’s death … or the ejection seat!” For [...]

Of Minds & Men: The First Rendezvous in Space (Part 1)

Gemini VII, bearing astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell on a record-breaking 14-day mission, is seen through the windows of Gemini VI-A, with fellow spacefarers Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford. This mission, in December 1965, marked the first ‘true’ rendezvous between two piloted vehicles in orbit. Photo Credit: NASA

Two weeks before Christmas in [...]