Kuiper dramatically re-enacts Gemini 3. Launched on March 23, 1965, the mission was crewed by John Young, Gus Grissom and…a corned beef sandwich.
“We have taken steps, obviously, to prevent recurrence of corned beef sandwiches in future flights.” George Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives, 1966
Astronaut John Young flew a LOT of missions in space. He both commanded and piloted missions on Gemini, Apollo (both command & lunar modules) and the Space Shuttle. However, he almost lost his chance to walk on the moon when Gemini 3 went a-rye due to a prank by Wally Schirra.
The food Gus Grissom and John Young were supposed to eat on Gemini 3 was not super appealing; I’ll put pic in story. When Schirra was helping the two suit up before launch, he snuck a sandwich from a local deli into Young’s spacesuit pocket. Young was in on it, and surprised Grissom by offering it to him in space.
EXCERPT FROM MISSION TRANSCRIPT
Gus: What is it?
John: Corn beef sandwich.
Gus: Where did that come from?
John: I brought it with me. Let’s see how it tastes. Smells, doesn’t it?
Gus: Yes, it’s breaking up. I’m going to stick it in my pocket.
John: Is it? It was a thought, anyway.
John: Not a very good one.
Gus: Pretty good, though, if it would just hold together.
Grissom later said in his book about Gemini, “..I thanked John and took a bite, but crumbs of rye bread started floating around the cabin, and it became instantly obvious that our life-support system wasn’t prepared to cope with the high-powered aroma of genuine kosher corned beef…so, reluctantly, I stowed it away. After the flight, our superiors at NASA let us know in no uncertain terms that non-man-rated corned beef sandwiches were out for future space missions.”
The next appearance of corned beef in space wasn’t til the first shuttle flight in 1981, which Young commanded.
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