We have 3 Gemini missions left to cover before Apollo! In case you’re new here: this July will be the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, and we’re telling the story of America’s space program to celebrate! 🎉 The series began on January 31st with a post about the first US satellite 🛰️, which launched that day in 1958. We’re now up to July 1966.
🚀 Project Mercury: “Can we send one dude into space?”
🚀 Project Gemini: “Can we send two dudes into space and have them do maneuvers like docking and spacewalks? Can people even survive in space for two weeks?”
🚀 Project Apollo: “Three dudes to the MOON!”
On July 18, 1966, Gemini 10 lifted off with John Young and Michael Collins aboard. This wasn’t John’s first space rodeo (having survived congressional hearings regarding his contraband corned beef sandwich on Gemini 3.) However, it was Mike’s first time in space. He would later go on to fly Apollo 11 as the Command Module Pilot.
Young and Collins not only accomplished the first ever double rendezvous in space, but they also set a new altitude record. After docking their capsule with an Agena, they used its engine to lift them 475 miles (764 km) above the Earth. The data they collected at this altitude helped keep future astronauts safe from radiation.
Their second rendezvous was with the inactive Agena from Gemini 8 (the mission which almost spun Neil Armstrong and David Scott into unconsciousness.) Mike spacewalked over and retrieved one of its micrometeorite collectors (becoming the first person in history to walk to another spacecraft.) Unfortunately, his Hasselblad camera accidentally came loose and floated away 👋 on the EVA.
Gemini 10 was also the first mission with two spacewalks! Mike’s first EVA had been just outside the capsule hatch. He used a 70mm Maurer camera for several photo experiments (color fidelity in space, ultraviolet, terrain and weather photography.) Fortunately, that camera stayed put. It is now on display at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx59r7clVEb/