Gemini Sarah hagen

The Gemini missions were the missions that made going to the moon in the Apollo missions possible. They were referred to as the "bridge to the moon".

Gemini Logo with Missions

The missions had four goals:

  • Investigate the ability of astronauts to fly long missions (2 weeks +)
  • Understand how to dock a spacecraft in orbit around Earth and moon
  • Improve landing and re-entry techniques
  • Further understand how longer periods of time spent in space affected astronauts
Edward White on a spacewalk as part of the Gemini IV mission. (6/3/1968)

New technologies...

The Gemini spacecraft weighed 8,490 pounds to Mercury's 3000 pounds and could fit two astronauts instead of one.
The Orbital Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) allowed the crew to change the orbit of the spacecraft.
The Titan II rocket was larger and powered the Gemini spacecrafts, launching them into space.
The Mission Control Center at Cape Kennedy was expanded for the Gemini missions, adding four consoles so that there were ten flight control stations.

The Gemini program allowed astronauts to expand their skills into areas that had not been looked at before.

The Gemini missions were the first missions that allowed astronauts to change their orbit during flight. This was the technology that would make it possible for the Apollo missions to go to the moon.

The Gemini program allowed its astronauts to participate in spacewalks. They were able to test the limits of what was possible and capture many pictures of what they observed. The astronauts' experiences made NASA revise the way they trained for spacewalks and showed that more work on the ground was needed to perfect the ability to work in space.

Gemini VIII was the first mission to connect two spacecrafts while in space. This skill would be very important for the missions to the moon. Gemini X would combine linking two spacecrafts with retrieving a package with experiments from a second spacecraft (seen above).

The Gemini missions expanded the limits of space travel and allowed a new perspective on the world.

I tell ya from up here the world is round. It is spectacular. It's fantastic. - Charles Conrad (Gemini XI command pilot)

The Gemini missions allowed people to seriously consider the possibility of going to the moon. They also became closely connected to the space program and the Gemini missions brought NASA into focus for the public. For the astronauts, it was a long learning experience that taught them many skills but also boosted their confidence in what humans were able to do. The final frontier would be explored.

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