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Encyclopedia > Gemini 11
Gemini 11
Mission Insignia
Gemini 11 Insignia
Mission Statistics
Mission Name: Gemini 11
Call Sign: Gemini 11
Number of
Launch: September 12, 1966
14:42:26.546 UTC
Cape Canaveral
LC 19
Landing: September 15, 1966
13:59:35 UTC
24 15.4' N,
70 0' W
Duration: 2 days, 23 hours
17 minutes
8 seconds
Distance Traveled: ~1,983,565 km
Orbits: 44
(1st orbit)
279.1 km
(1st orbit)
160.5 km
(1st orbit)
88.89 m
Inclination: 28.83 deg
Mass: 3,798.4 kg
Crew Picture
Gemini 11 crew portrait (L-R: Gordon, Conrad)
Gemini 11 Crew

Gemini 11 (officially Gemini XI) was a 1966 manned spaceflight in NASA's Gemini program. It was the 9th manned Gemini flight, the 17th manned American flight and the 25th spaceflight of all time (includes X-15 flights over 100 km).



Conrad had flown once before, on Gemini V; Gordon was on his first flight.

Backup Crew

Mission Parameters

Highest orbit (followed twice):

  • Perigee: 289.7 km
  • Apogee: 1374.1 km (a record; apart from the missions to the Moon this has, as of 2004, never been surpassed)
  • Inclination: 28.85
  • Period: 101.52 m


Space walk

See also


With Apollo looming on the horizon, Gemini project managers wanted to accomplish a rendezvous immediately after reaching orbit, just as it would have to be done around the Moon. Only 85 minutes after launch, Conrad and Gordon matched orbits with their Agena target stage and docked several times. Conrad had originally hoped for a Gemini flight around the Moon, but had to settle for the highest Earth orbit ever reached by an American manned spacecraft (1374.1 kilometer altitude). Gordon's first space-walk once again proved more difficult than ground simulations, and had to be cut short when he became overtired. A second, two-hour "stand-up" space walk went more smoothly: Gordon even fell asleep while floating halfway out the hatch. An experiment to link the Agena and Gemini vehicles with a 15.24 meter tether (which Gordon had attached during his space-walk) and rotate the joined pair was troublesome-Conrad had problems keeping the tether taut-but was able to generate a modicum of "artificial gravity." The mission ended with the first totally automatic, computer-controlled reentry, which brought Gemini XI down only 4.506 kilometers from its recovery ship.

Gemini 11 was designed to achieve a first orbit rendezvous and docking with the Agena target vehicle, to accomplish two extra-vehicular activity (EVA) tests, to perform docking practice, docked configuration maneuvers, tethered operations, parking of the Agena target vehicle and demonstrate an automatic reentry.

Gemini 11 launch (NASA)
Gemini 11 Agena tethered operations(NASA)
Gemini 11 Agena Info
Agena GATV-5006
NSSDC ID: 1966-080A
Mass 3,175 kg
Launch Site LC-14
Launch Date September 12, 1966
Launch Time 13:05:01 UTC
1st Perigee 289.7 km
1st Apogee 307.1 km
Period 90.56 m
Inclination 28.84
Reentered December 30, 1966


The 12 scientific experiments were (1) synergistic effect of zero-g and radiation on white blood cells, (2) synoptic terrain photography, (3) synoptic weather photography, (4) nuclear emulsions, (5) airglow horizon photography, (6) UV astronomical photography, (7) Gemini ion wake measurement, and (8) dim sky photography.


The reentry was the first computer-controlled reentry in the US space program. They landed only 4.5 km away from the intended landing site and were recovered by USS Guam.

The Gemini 11 mission was supported by the following U.S. Department of Defense resources; 9,054 personnel, 73 aircraft and 13 ships.


On the Gemini 11 crew insigina, stars are used to mark the major milestones of the mission. The first orbit Agena rendezvous is marked by a small gold star just above the earth, to the left. The Agena docking is marked by a large star on the left. The star at the top marks the record high apogee (1,368 km) reached by Gemini 11. Finally the star on right marks Dick Gordons spacewalk. The docking, record apogee and spacewalk are also shown on the patch by the Agena, orbital apogee path and spacewalking astronaut. The patch is done in U.S. Navy colors, blue and gold. Conrad and Gordon were both members of the U.S. Navy.

Capsule Location

The capsule is on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California.

External links

  • On The Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4203/cover.htm)
  • Spaceflight Mission Patches (http://www.genedorr.com/patches/Intro.html)
  • http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1966-081A
  • U.S. Space Objects Registry http://usspaceobjectsregistry.state.gov/search/index.cfm

  Results from FactBites:
Manned Space Chronology: Gemini 11 (843 words)
The Gemini 11 GATV was launched as the second stage of an Atlas-Agena rocket at 8:05 a.m.
One of the primary objectives of the Gemini 11 mission was to complete a rendezvous and docking with the GATV on the first orbit, a procedure that might become necessary during the course of the upcoming Apollo program.
The main objective of Gordon during the spacewalk was to attach a 50-foot rope tether from the GATV to a docking bar on the Gemini 11 spacecraft.
Gemini Project (3217 words)
Gemini 1 was to check compatibility between the Gemini spacecraft and the Titan II launch vehicle (see Gemini-Titan II) and no attempt was made to separate the two during their brief flight.
Gemini 4’s goals were to evaluate the spacecraft and crew during a lengthy stay in space, rendezvous with the spent Titan II second stage, carry out the first American spacewalk, and continue testing the Orbital Attitude Maneuvering System (OAMS).
After Gemini 12 had docked with its GATV, Aldrin carried out the first of three spacewalks, attaching a 30-m rope from the GATV to a docking bar on the capsule – a tether twice as long as that used on Gemini 11.
  More results at FactBites »



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