'Otherwise Engaged': 50 Years Since the Double-Rendezvous, Double-Spacewalk Mission of Gemini X (Part 1)

Six hours after launching from Cape Kennedy on 18 July 1966, Gemini X Command Pilot John Young and Pilot Mike Collins rendezvoused and docked with Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV)-5005. It was the first of a record-setting two rendezvous to be performed during their three-day mission. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Six hours after launching from Cape Kennedy on 18 July 1966, Gemini X Command Pilot John Young and Pilot Mike Collins rendezvoused and docked with Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV)-5005. It was the first of a record-setting two rendezvous to be performed during their three-day mission. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Fifty years ago, […]

'Only Tom Really Knows': 50 Years Since the Challenging Mission of Gemini IX (Part 2)

A view of Gemini IX, including its maneuvering thrusters, taken by Gene Cernan. His lengthy tether is clearly visible. Photo Credit: NASA

A view of Gemini IX, including its maneuvering thrusters, taken by Gene Cernan. His lengthy tether is clearly visible. Photo Credit: NASA

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 […]

'Like an Angry Alligator': 50 Years Since the Challenging Mission of Gemini IX (Part 1)

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

Gemini IX finally flew in June 1966, carrying astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan. Photo Credit: NASA

In many ways, NASA’s Gemini IX mission—tasked with spending three days in space, performing a lengthy spacewalk, a rendezvous, and a docking with an unmanned Agena target vehicle—was hamstrung by bad luck. First, in February 1966, its […]

'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 […]

'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 […]

Partners in Space: 40 Years Since the Remarkable Voyage of Apollo-Soyuz (Part 4)

America’s Apollo, with its docking module (left), approaches Russia’s Soyuz for the first joint manned space exercise between the two superpowers in July 1975. This would mark the high-watermark of their relations, but the late 1970s would signal a harsh decline in friendship and bring them to the brink of war once again. Image […]