26 Facts About Project Gemini


Project Gemini's objective was the development of space travel techniques to support the Apollo mission to land astronauts on the Moon.

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All Project Gemini flights were launched from Launch Complex 19 at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in Florida.

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Project Gemini was the first program to use the newly built Mission Control Center at the Houston Manned Spacecraft Center for flight control.

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Project Gemini was robust enough that the United States Air Force planned to use it for the Manned Orbital Laboratory program, which was later canceled.

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Project Gemini believed Gemini spacecraft could fly in lunar operations before Project Apollo, and cost less.

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Gus Grissom, acting as Houston capsule communicator when Ed White performed his spacewalk on Project Gemini 4, is heard on flight recordings pronouncing the spacecraft's call sign "Jeh-mih-nee 4", and the NASA pronunciation is used in the 2018 film First Man.

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Project Gemini presented two initial versions of a two-man spacecraft, then designated Mercury Mark II, at a NASA retreat at Wallops Island in March 1961.

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Project Gemini was previously the chief aerodynamicist on Avro Canada's Avro Arrow fighter interceptor program.

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Project Gemini's team was responsible for completion of the complex pad close-out procedures just prior to spacecraft launch, and he was the last person the astronauts would see prior to closing the hatch.

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Unlike Mercury, Project Gemini used completely solid-state electronics, and its modular design made it easy to repair.

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Project Gemini reviewed several films of Atlas and Titan II ICBM failures, which he used to estimate the approximate size of a fireball produced by an exploding launch vehicle and from this he gauged that the Titan II would produce a much smaller explosion, thus the spacecraft could get away with ejection seats.

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Project Gemini was the first astronaut-carrying spacecraft to include an onboard computer, the Project Gemini Guidance Computer, to facilitate management and control of mission maneuvers.

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Unlike Mercury, Project Gemini used in-flight radar and an artificial horizon, similar to those used in the aviation industry.

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Project Gemini added control of the spacecraft's translation with a pair of T-shaped handles .

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Original intention for Project Gemini was to land on solid ground instead of at sea, using a Rogallo wing rather than a parachute, with the crew seated upright controlling the forward motion of the craft.

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Project Gemini was equipped with an Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System, containing sixteen thrusters for translation control in all three perpendicular axes, in addition to attitude control as in Mercury.

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Project Gemini was in some regards more advanced than Apollo because the latter program began almost a year earlier.

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The backup crew for Project Gemini 3 was Grissom and Borman, who were slated for Project Gemini 6, to be the first long-duration mission.

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Project Gemini reassigned See to be the prime commander of Gemini 9 and put Scott as pilot of Gemini 8 and Charles Bassett as the pilot of Gemini 9.

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In 1964 and 1965, two Project Gemini missions were flown without crews to test systems and the heat shield.

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McDonnell Aircraft, the main contractor for Mercury and Project Gemini, was one of the original bidders on the prime contract for Apollo, but lost out to North American Aviation.

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Range of applications were considered for Advanced Project Gemini missions, including military flights, space station crew and logistics delivery, and lunar flights.

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Some Advanced Project Gemini proposals used "off-the-shelf" Project Gemini spacecraft, unmodified from the original program, while others featured modifications to allow the spacecraft to carry more crew, dock with space stations, visit the Moon, and perform other mission objectives.

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Big Project Gemini was another proposal by McDonnell Douglas made in August 1969.

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Two baseline spacecraft were defined: a nine-man minimum modification version of the Gemini B called Min-Mod Big G and a 12-man advanced concept, having the same exterior geometry but with new, state-of-the-art subsystems, called Advanced Big G Three launch vehicles-Saturn IB, Titan IIIM, and Saturn INT-20 were investigated for use with the spacecraft.

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Blue Project Gemini was canceled in 1963 by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who decided the NASA Project Gemini flights could conduct necessary military experiments.

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