Friday, April 1, 2016

The Gemini Project

Ed White
Ed White Performing an EVA during Gemini 4

The American space program, with Project Mercury, began with the Original Seven.

These were Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard, Gordo Cooper, Gus Grissom, Deke Slayton, and John Glenn.

One of these men walked on the moon and one of them died in the effort.

The Gemini Project was the intermediary step between Mercury and Apollo and was begun in 1961 and concluded in 1966.

The basic objectives were to see if human beings could live outside of Earth in a spacecraft for an extended period, to rendezvous and dock with another vehicle beyond the Earth's atmosphere, and to conduct Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), i.e. "space walks."

Each of these stages were necessary to fulfill the human desire to walk upon the face of the moon.

The Gemini astronauts - also known as the New Nine - included Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Frank Borman, Pete Conrad, Ed White, John Young, Jim McDivitt, Elliot See, and Thomas Stafford.

Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, the last of whom belonged to Astronaut Group 3, died in the Apollo 1 fire of January 27, 1967.


  1. Ah, space walks. Wouldn't you like to do that! The feeling of weightlessness while in reality the earth's mass is pulling you toward it, but you're moving at a speed where you fall around it instead of into it as the curve of its surface keeps shifting away from you. I thought those Gemini capsules were so cool I used to draw them.

    1. Y'know, I made a mistake.

      The only one of the Original Seven that stepped foot onto the moon was Shepard.

      That strikes me as fitting.

  2. From memory it was a cosmonaut who undertook the first space walk. Cape Canaveral responded a few months later.

    This kind of thing was standard. A thing like that had real geopolitical consequences. The competition was ferocious and the background agenda of demonstrating rocket technology was not lost on anybody.

    They were strange times.

    1. In my few months at the Johnson Space Center it became exceedingly clear to me how the US space program was driven by the Cold War. I always felt that what a terrible shame because it should be driven out of science and a sense of expansive human curiosity.

      But, y'know, call me an idealist.

      And, yeah, I think that you are right about it being a Soviet that did the first EVA. I have not bothered to double-check, but if memory serves from reading I believe that you are correct.

      What I am happy to learn about in recent years is how the private world - enterprise, if you will - is picking up the slack.

  3. Weren't we supposed to have a moon base by now? You know. Like in 2001 a Space Odyssey?

    Everything else in that movie proved to be accurate. Such as the way astronauts talk to one another and the talking homicidal computer.

    They are everywhere.

  4. OT

    Watch this to the end.