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58 votes
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Why is there a Saturn V in the background of this Gemini-Titan launch?

The photo is of the launch of Gemini 11 on September 12, 1966. The Saturn V in the background is SA-500F, a "Facilities Integration Vehicle". This was a nearly complete Saturn V that was ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
26 votes
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Why weren't Gemini capsules given names?

Actually, the first manned one (Gemini 3) did have a name, "Molly Brown1". According to an article in Life Magazine, Oct 11, 1968, "Spacecraft Anonymous", upper NASA management became weary of ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
22 votes

Why weren't Gemini capsules given names?

Supplemental to Organic Marble's answer: The Gemini no-names policy remained in effect through the early part of the Apollo program as well; the Apollo 7 and 8 spacecraft were nameless. The names ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
20 votes

Why did rendezvous on Gemini 4 fail so badly?

Gemini 4 was the first unsuccessful try of a rendezvous. They sought at that times it should be possible to rendezvous from a short distance by simply thrusting towards the docking object. They had to ...
Uwe's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why did rendezvous on Gemini 4 fail so badly?

The long comment chain below this answer highlights the mis-conception that NASA astronauts as a whole did not understand the orbital mechanics of docking. As this comment points out, the mechanics ...
uhoh's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why was Gemini VIII terminated after recovering from the OAMS thruster failure?

I haven't been able to find the Gemini rules online. But we can infer what they stated based on comments in the Gemini VIII post flight report. MCC-H made the decision for early mission ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
18 votes

Did Ed White, on his Gemini 4 spacewalk, have to release pressure from his suit to reenter the capsule?

Not according to the official NASA history, On the Shoulders of Titans. White had difficulty opening the hatch to start the EVA: Over the Indian Ocean, White was ready for EVA at last - hoses ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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18 votes
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During orbital rendezvous, at what distance and approach velocity does the transition from orbital mechanics to “boating around” occur?

Orbital mechanics always apply. For shuttle the two different operational phases were referred to as Rendezvous Ops and Prox Ops The breakpoint between the two was defined in the Space Shuttle Flight ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
17 votes

Why were ejection seats used in Project Gemini instead of a tower escape system?

While a number of sources say the motivation for using ejection seats instead of LES is to save weight, a tower launch escape system can be jettisoned relatively early in flight, while ejection seats ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
16 votes

Did Ed White, on his Gemini 4 spacewalk, have to release pressure from his suit to reenter the capsule?

Leonov used an airlock to leave and reenter the Voskhod capsule, but White did not use an airlock, the whole Gemini capsule was depressurized. Leonov's problem was to fit into the inflatable airlock ...
Uwe's user avatar
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16 votes
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Was there any risk of the Gemini hatches blowing open?

For a number of reasons space craft and aviation closures generally have multiple latches running around the edge. This ensures a tight seal at all points around the opening, reduces the peak forces/...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
14 votes

Why did rendezvous on Gemini 4 fail so badly?

First, the Gemini IV maneuver was station-keeping, not rendezvous. Since the target was the just-separated upper stage, the two spacecraft were already rendezvoused, and point-and-burn would have ...
Mark's user avatar
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14 votes
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Why did the cones of the Mercury and Gemini capsules have a neck?

Understanding of re-entry heating at the time led to that decision. Around the time that Mercury was being designed, there was a huge problem in the field of ballistic missile design (which had a ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
14 votes

During orbital rendezvous, at what distance and approach velocity does the transition from orbital mechanics to “boating around” occur?

Captain Wally Schirra was the first person to ever successfully pull off a space rendezvous. Here is, more or less, how he would have answered the question (this is a quote from Capt. Schirra after ...
Digger's user avatar
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12 votes
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"Re-entry" vs "Reaction" in RCS

The Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) was for orbit and was jettisoned before the retro burn, leaving the RCS for reentry. The com­plete OAMS had 16 small engines, which burned hypergolic ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
11 votes
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Was this Gemini "giant eye chart" ever performed?

Yes, it was performed during Gemini 5 and 7. Here's the report. ... Ground observation sites were provided on the Gates Ranch, 40 miles north of Laredo, Texas, and on the Woodleigh Ranch, 90 miles ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
11 votes

Did the RTCC ever “fail over” to the standby computer during a mission?

I have found two instances of a "selectover" from the Mission Operational Computer (MOC) to the Dynamic Standby Computer (DSC), one on Apollo 13 and one on Apollo 15. Apollo 13: The single ...
indy91's user avatar
  • 1,991
11 votes

What are these on the Gemini Spacecraft?

Science packages beneath spring-loaded doors This is a bit of a walk-through of my research to discover the answer. I found a second image that shows one of those same objects. (Click on any image to ...
JBH's user avatar
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10 votes
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Which spacecraft are models in this Astronaut Group 1+2 photo?

On the left in front of Cooper & Grissom is, I believe, a model of an Agena rocket stage, used as the basis for the Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle, which was the uncrewed rendezvous-docking target ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
9 votes
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Acceleration due to uncontrolled rotation of Gemini 8

A more authoritative source than Wikipedia would be NASA's Gemini VII Mission Report. Starting on page 5-25, the anomaly is described, with the main effect being an uncontrolled roll peaking at ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
9 votes
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What is BECO? (Gemini) Same as MECO?

“Booster Engine Cut Off” (though I like Big Engine better) There’s a handy NASA Glossary for things like this.
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
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9 votes
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How did mission control work for the concurrent Gemini 6A and 7 missions?

They didn't have two functioning control rooms, so swapped off using the control room for the vehicle that was most active at the time, and used the distributed Mercury-style control for the less ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
9 votes
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What does "all systems are internal" mean?

This can refer to a number of things, the specific source (mission and point in time of the countdown) would be helpful. It can refer to all systems running on internal power sources rather than ...
DarkDust's user avatar
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8 votes
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Agena docking and RCS Brakes in First Man

A yaw thruster failed on in the Gemini's Orbital Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) causing the attitude problems. Suspecting the Agena target to be at fault, they undocked, which made it worse ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
8 votes
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Did the astronauts of Gemini 4 have any realistic rendezvous simulator training of orbital mechanic effects?

Let my preface my answer with a quote from Wally Schirra after Gemini 6A: "Somebody said ... when you come to within three miles (5 km), you've rendezvoused. If anybody thinks they've pulled a ...
Digger's user avatar
  • 4,185
8 votes

Mystery balls! Gemini apparently had "thousands of hollow ping-pong-sized balls made of extremely thin aluminum embedded within its walls". What?

A damaged hollow structure would sink; a damaged hollow structure filled with hundreds of hollow structures can't sink: I would call it "hyper-redundacy" of buoyancy.
jumpjack's user avatar
  • 3,043
7 votes

Are Mercury/Apollo/Gemini capsules visible in any museum?

All of the Apollo Command Modules are on display as follows: Apollo 6 - Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia Apollo 7 - Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas, Texas Apollo 8 - Chicago ...
Richard S's user avatar
7 votes

What are these on the Gemini Spacecraft?

JBH has already pretty much answered the question, so this is just an additional: The Gemini Program: Physical sciences experiments summary document actually has the same photo as the OP and states: ...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
6 votes
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Do astronauts set a pressure on the space craft altimeter before launch or zero it?

According to The Smithsonian, the pressure altimeter was intended primarily as a landing aid. In the event of an abort during takeoff, parachute deployment would be based on speed, not altitude. ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
6 votes
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How was time kept on board early manned spaceflights?

Apollo had an onboard guidance computer, with its own clock. From Wikipedia: The AGC timing reference came from a 2.048 MHz crystal clock. The clock was divided by two to produce a four-phase 1.024 ...
Phiteros's user avatar
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