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Ed White floating free of the Gemini IV capsule on 3 June 1965.

NASA's Project Gemini was designed to test technologies and techniques for the Apollo Program. The two-man Gemini spacecraft was larger and more sophisticated than its Mercury predecessor. Gemini's main goals included:

  • Precision atmospheric reentry
  • Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), or spacewalking
  • Fuel cells to generate electricity and water
  • Perfect rendezvous and docking between two spacecraft
  • Techniques for propelling and maneuvering two docked spacecraft
  • Long term human spaceflight

The spacecraft was designed by a team of NASA engineers led by Jim Chamberlin, and built by McDonnell Aircraft, in St Louis. There were two uncrewed test flights (1964, 1965) and 10 crewed (March 23, 1965 until November 11–15, 1966) all launched on a Titan II missile. The Gemini flights helped NASA learn to work and live in space, paving the way for the successful Apollo human landings on the Moon.

Space firsts from Project Gemini include:

  • First onboard computer
  • First rendezvous (Gemini VI-A with Gemini VII)
  • First docking of crewed and uncrewed spacecraft (Gemini VII with Agena)
  • First propulsion maneuver with docked Agena (Gemini X)
  • First maneuver to change orbit plane
  • First working EVA

Summary Of Project Gemini

  • Gemini III 23 March 1965, first crewed flight (View Images)
  • Gemini IV 3-7 June 1965, first EVA (View Images)
  • Gemini V 21-29 August 1965. first week-long flight, first fuel cells (View Images)
  • Gemini VII 4-18 December 1965, first rendezvous with crewed vehicle (Gemini VI-A) (View Images)
  • Gemini VI-A 15-16 December 1965, first rendezvous with crewed vehicle (Gemini VII) (View Images)
  • Gemini VIII 16-17 March 1966, first docking (Agena target vehicle) (View Images)
  • Gemini IX-A 3-6 June 1966, three rendezvous (View Images)
  • Gemini X 18-21 July 1966, first use of docked Agena to propel Gemini spacecraft (View Images)
  • Gemini XI 12-15 September 1966, docking and maneuvering with Agena, altitude record (View Images)
  • Gemini XII 11-15 November 1966, first fully successful EVA (5 hours 30 minutes) (View Images)