'What Do You Suppose Stafford's Saying?': 50 Years Since Gemini IX Lost Its Agena (Part 2)

The pencil-like Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV), mounted atop its Agena booster, rises from Pad 14 at Cape Kennedy on 17 May 1966. Disaster engulfed the mission a few minutes later. Photo Credit: NASA

The Gemini IX crews consisted of Elliot See (front left) and Charlie Bassett (front right) and their backups, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. The deaths of the prime crew on 28 February 1966 forced Stafford and Cernan into their shoes, but was not the end of their misfortunes. On 17 May 1966, they also […]

'More Routine, Less Newsworthy': 50 Years Since Gemini IX Lost Its Agena (Part 1)

Had history been kinder, this might have been the view from Gemini IX's windows, 50 years ago, this week. However, the failure of the Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) to reach orbit on 17 May 1966 led to a two-week delay to the mission of Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Had history been kinder, this might have been the view from Gemini IX’s windows, 50 years ago, this week. However, the failure of the Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) to reach orbit on 17 May 1966 led to a two-week delay to the mission of Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim […]

'Tumbling End Over End': 50 Years Since the Traumatic Mission of Gemini VIII (Part 2)

Gemini VIII's nose edges into the docking collar of the Agena target. Although this mission achieved a successful rendezvous and docking, it fell victim to violent oscillations, due to a stuck-on thruster, which almost cost Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott their lives. Photo Credit: NASA

Gemini VIII’s nose edges into the docking collar of the Agena target. Although this mission achieved a successful rendezvous and docking, it fell victim to violent oscillations, due to a stuck-on thruster, which almost cost Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott their lives. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong […]

'Really a Smoothie': 50 Years Since the Traumatic Mission 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 in their later careers. Photo Credit: NASA

Gemini VIII (foreground) enters into the final stages of rendezvous with the Agena target vehicle. Photo Credit: NASA

At the dawn of 1966, America’s drive to land a man on the Moon had accelerated into high gear. Five Gemini crews had shown that astronauts could survive in space for long enough to complete the […]

'Who Was in NASA 901?': 50 Years Since the Accident Which Changed Project Gemini (Part 2)

The Gemini IX crews consisted of Elliot See (front left) and Charlie Bassett (front right) and their backups, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. The deaths of the prime crew on 28 February 1966 forced Stafford and Cernan into their shoes, but was not the end of their misfortunes. On 17 May 1966, they also lost their rendezvous target, the Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV). Photo Credit: NASA

The remains of NASA 901, the T-38 jet which carried the Gemini IX prime crew of Elliot See and Charlie Bassett. Photo Credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch archive

At 7:41 a.m. CST on 28 February 1966—exactly 50 years ago, to this very day—a pair of sleek T-38 Talon jets took off from Ellington Field, near the Manned […]

'A Very Great Honor': 50 Years Since the Accident Which Changed Project Gemini (Part 1)

Assigned in November 1965, the Gemini IX crew of Elliot See (left) and Charlie Bassett were tasked with flying a 48-72-hour mission in the late spring of 1966. Their flight would have demonstrated rendezvous, docking, maneuvering and spacewalking. Photo Credit: NASA

Assigned in November 1965, the Gemini IX crew of Elliot See (left) and Charlie Bassett were tasked with flying a 48-72-hour mission in the late spring of 1966. Their flight would have demonstrated rendezvous, docking, maneuvering, and spacewalking. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this month, in February 1966, NASA and America’s effort to […]

'A Real Bright Star': 50 Years Since the First Space Rendezvous (Part 2)

Just 1.2 seconds after engine ignition on 12 December 1965, the Titan II suffered a premature shutdown. Instantly, Wally Schirra faced a life-or-death gamble: to hold his nerve or pull the ejection handle. He held his nerve and Gemini VI-A survived to fly another day. Photo Credit: NASA

“It’s death … or the ejection […]

'It's Death or the Ejection Seat': 50 Years Since the First Space Rendezvous (Part 1)

Backdropped by the grandeur of Earth, Gemini VII drifts serenely in the inky darkness, as seen from Gemini VI-A. Photo Credit: NASA

Just before Christmas in 1965—50 years ago, next week—a pair of Gemini spacecraft serenely circled Earth together and in close proximity. Aboard Gemini VII, astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell were midway through […]

'Eight Days in a Garbage Can': 50 Years Since Gemini V (Part 2)

Glorious view of Baja California, with the nose of Gemini V visible at bottom right. Photo Credit: NASA

Five decades have now passed since a mission which Pete Conrad once described as “the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” Gemini V was the third manned flight of NASA’s two-man spacecraft, […]

'Eight Days in a Garbage Can': 50 Years Since Gemini V (Part 1)

Illustrating the cramped nature of their eight-day home, astronauts Pete Conrad (background) and Gordo Cooper are in jubilant spirits ahead of their 21 August 1965 launch. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty years ago, this week, astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad experienced “the longest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” Gemini V was the third […]