Project Gemini

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Project Gemini

Project Gemini (from the Latin word for twins) aptly took its name from the fact that each of the ten planned manned spaceflights would be made with two astronauts aboard the vehicle.  The objectives of the program were to develop and practice techniques required for lunar missions, such as rendevous with another vehicle, docking, and space walks.  Medical data was collected and analyzed during the manned missions to  determine the effect of weightlessness and other conditions in space on humans.

"Gemini Twins" by Mark Karvon

When the first Agena Target Vehicle exploded during launch, the Gemini VI mission was left without a rendezvous target. It was soon determined however that the following Gemini VII spacecraft would make a good substitute. Gemini VII launched first. Part of its mission was to spend enough time in space to simulate a journey to the moon and back. On December 15, 1965 the renamed Gemini VI-A launched. After achieving orbit the spacecraft was able to locate and maneuver to rendezvous with Gemini VII. The two craft maintained station for 5 hours coming as close as 30 cm. This was the first time two spacecraft had flown so close together in space and confirmed the feasibility of the docking maneuvers that would be required for a journey to the moon. 

Mark Karvon's realistic depiction of this maneuver shows the two Gemini spacecraft nose to nose as they orbit the Earth in close proximity.  The print is produced on heavy weight, acid-free, archival stock, and is available in several sizes.  To get a larger view, click on the thumbnail, then click your browser's BACK button to return here.

"Gemini Twins" by Mark Karvon
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