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Encyclopedia > Gemini 8
Gemini 8
Mission insignia
Mission statistics
Mission name: Gemini 8
Call sign: Gemini 8
Number of
crew:
2
Launch: March 16, 1966
16:41:02.389 UTC
Cape Canaveral
LC 19
Agena Docking:
Docked:
Undocked:
March 16, 1966
22:14 UTC
~22:45 UTC
Landing: March 17, 1966
03:22:28 UTC
25°13.8′N 136°0′E
Duration: 10 hours
41 minutes
26 seconds
Distance traveled: ~293,206 km
Orbits: 6.75
Apogee:
(1st orbit)
271.9 km
Perigee:
(1st orbit)
159.9 km
Period:
(1st orbit)
88.83 min
Inclination: 28.91 deg
Mass: 3,789 kg
Crew picture
Gemini 8 crew portrait (L-R: Scott, Armstrong)
Gemini 8 crew portrait
(L-R: Scott, Armstrong)
Gemini 8 Crew

Gemini 8 (officially Gemini VIII) was a 1966 manned spaceflight in NASA's Gemini program. It was the 6th manned Gemini flight, the 12th manned American flight and the 22nd spaceflight of all time (includes X-15 flights over 100 km). Image File history File links Ge08Patch_orig. ... March 16 is the 75th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (76th in leap years). ... 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ... Coordinated Universal Time (UTC - see below for explanation) is a high-precision atomic time standard. ... Cape Canaveral from space, August 1991 Cape Canaveral (Cabo Cañaveral in Spanish) is a strip of land in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of that states Atlantic coast. ... The launch of Gemini 6A from LC-19. ... March 17 is the 76th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (77th in leap years). ... 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ... Gemini 8 crew: Scott, Armstrong. ... The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States Government, responsible for that nations public space program. ... Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of the United States of America. ... Description Role: Research Aircraft Crew: one, pilot Dimensions Length: 50. ...

Contents

Crew

*Number in parentheses indicates number of spaceflights by each individual, prior to and including this mission. This article is about the former American astronaut. ... David Scotts Apollo 15 training space suit on display in the Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. Colonel David Randolph Scott (born June 6, 1932), a former NASA astronaut, was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963 and is one of only twelve...


Backup crew

Charles Pete Conrad, Jr. ... Richard F. Gordon, Jr. ...

Mission parameters

Unsolved problems in physics: What causes anything to have mass? Mass is a property of a physical object that quantifies the amount of matter and energy it is equivalent to. ... Perigee is the point at which an object in orbit around the Earth makes its closest approach to the Earth. ... This article is about several astronomical terms (apogee & perigee, aphelion & perihelion, generic equivalents based on apsis, and related but rarer terms. ... Inclination in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of direction. ... The orbital period is the time it takes a planet (or another object) to make one full orbit. ...

See also

Atlantic splashdown locations of American spacecraft. ... The Agena Target Vehicle was designed to develop and practice orbital rendezvous and docking in space, in preparation for the lunar mission. ...

Objectives

Gemini VIII had two major objectives, of which it achieved one. The two objectives were:

  1. to accomplish an in-orbit rendezvous and docking, and
  2. to accomplish an extended Extra-vehicular Activity. Edward White of Gemini IV had spent a short 20 minutes outside of the spacecraft.

The first major objective was accomplished by the spacecraft commander, Neil Armstrong, who piloted Gemini VIII to within 0.9 meters of the prelaunched Agena Target Vehicle, then slowly docked. This was the world's first orbital docking. The second objective was to have been accomplished by Pilot David Scott, who was to spend up to two hours outside of the spacecraft, but subsequent events cancelled the planned space-walk. A space rendezvous between two spacecraft, often between a spacecraft and a space station, is an orbital maneuver where the two arrive at the same orbit, make the orbital velocities the same, and bring them together (an approach maneuver, taxiing maneuver); it may or may not include docking. ... Astronaut Bruce McCandless on an untethered EVA Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is work done by an astronaut away from the Earth and outside of his or her spacecraft. ... Edward Higgins White, II (Lt. ... Gemini 4 (officially Gemini IV) was a 1965 manned space flight in NASAs Gemini program. ... This article is about the former American astronaut. ... The Agena Target Vehicle was designed to develop and practice orbital rendezvous and docking in space, in preparation for the lunar mission. ... David Scotts Apollo 15 training space suit on display in the Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. Colonel David Randolph Scott (born June 6, 1932), a former NASA astronaut, was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963 and is one of only twelve...


What followed the successful docking by Armstrong were some of the most hair-raising few minutes in space-program history. The Gemini VIII capsule, still docked to the Agena, began rolling continuously. Never having faced this in simulation, the crew undocked from the Agena. The problem was a stuck thruster on the spacecraft, which now tumbled even faster at the dizzying rate of one revolution per second. The only way to stop the motion was to use the capsule's reentry control thrusters, which meant that Armstrong and Scott had to cut short their mission and make an emergency return to Earth 10 hours after launch. They were still nauseated after splashdown, as well as disappointed: Scott had missed out on the planned space-walk.


Flight

Agena

It was five months since NASA had tried to launch an Agena and Gemini. This time everything worked perfectly. The Agena put itself into a 298-kilometer circular orbit and oriented itself to the correct attitude for the docking. The Gemini spacecraft itself was put into a 160 by 272 kilometer orbit by its modified Titan II ICBM.

Launch of Gemini 8 Agena target vehicle (NASA)
Launch of Gemini 8 Agena target vehicle (NASA)
Agena as seen from Gemini 8
Agena as seen from Gemini 8
Gemini 8 Agena Info
Agena GATV-5003
NSSDC ID: 1966-019A
Mass 3,175 kg
Launch site LC-14
Launch date March 16, 1966
Launch time 15:00:03 UTC
1st Perigee 299.1 km
1st Apogee 299.7 km
Period 90.47 m
Inclination 28.86
Reentered September 15, 1967



Gemini 8 Agena target vehicle launch. ... Gemini 8 Agena target vehicle launch. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (3000x3048, 2051 KB) Agena GATV for Gemini 10 en: Agena target satellite used in NASA Gemini program (see Gemini 10) de: Diese Agena Oberstufe dient als Zielsattelit für Kopplungstests mit dem Raumschiff Gemini 10. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (3000x3048, 2051 KB) Agena GATV for Gemini 10 en: Agena target satellite used in NASA Gemini program (see Gemini 10) de: Diese Agena Oberstufe dient als Zielsattelit für Kopplungstests mit dem Raumschiff Gemini 10. ...


Rendezvous and docking

Their first burn was at 1 hour and 34 minutes into the mission, when they lowered their apogee with a 5 second burn. The second burn was at apogee of the second orbit. This time they raised their perigee by adding 15 metres per second to their speed. Their third burn made sure that they were in the same orbital plane. This time they were turned 90° from their direction of travel and made a burn of 8 metres per second while they were over the Pacific. They then had to make a 0.8 metres per second burn after the ground controller realised that they were slightly off due to problems with the thrusters not shutting off properly.


They found that at 332 kilometres from the Agena that the radar had acquired the target. At 3 hours, 48 minutes and 10 seconds into the mission they performed another burn that put them in a circular orbit 28 kilometres below the Agena. They first sighted it when they were 140 km away and at 102 km they turned the computer onto automatic.


After several small burns they were sitting 46 metres away and with no relative velocity. After 30 minutes of visually inspecting the Agena to make sure that it had not been damaged by the launch, they were given the go for docking. Armstrong started slowly (8 centimetres per second) to move towards the Agena and then informed the ground that he had docked.


The spin

There was some suspicion on the ground that the Agena attitude system was playing up and might not have the correct program stored in it. Just before they went off contact with the ground, the crew of Gemini 8 were informed that if anything strange were to happen, they were to turn off the Agena.


After Scott had instructed the Agena to turn them 90° to the right, he noticed that for some strange reason they were in a roll. Armstrong used the Gemini's OAMS to stop the roll, but the moment he stopped using the thrusters, it started again. They immediately turned off the Agena and this seemed to stop the problem for a few minutes. Then suddenly it started again. The Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System or OAMS was a propulsion system used in orbit by the Gemini spacecraft. ...


Scott noticed that the Gemini attitude fuel had dropped to 30% indicating that it was a problem on their own spacecraft. They would have to undock. After transferring control of the Agena back to the ground they undocked and with a long burst of translation thrusters moved away from the Agena.


It was at that point that the Gemini spacecraft began to roll even faster. It reached one revolution per second. The only thing to do was turn off the OAMS and change to the reentry control system. This would mean they would have to reenter as soon as possible but was the only option if they didn't want to black out. After steadying the spacecraft they tested each OAMS thruster in turn and found that Number 8 had stuck on.


Landing

Armstrong and Scott await the USS Leonard F. Mason
Armstrong and Scott await the USS Leonard F. Mason

It was decided to let the spacecraft reenter one orbit later so that it could land in a place that it could be reached by the secondary recovery forces. It had planned for Gemini 8 to land in the Atlantic, but that was supposed to be three days later on. So USS Leonard F. Mason started to steam towards the new landing site 800 kilometres east of Okinawa and 1,000 kilometres south of Yokosuka, Japan. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1500x1500, 2306 KB) Summary On 16 March 1966, Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott sit with their spacecraft hatches open while awaiting the arrival of the recovery ship, the USS after the successful completion of their Gemini 8 mission. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1500x1500, 2306 KB) Summary On 16 March 1966, Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott sit with their spacecraft hatches open while awaiting the arrival of the recovery ship, the USS after the successful completion of their Gemini 8 mission. ... USS (DD-852) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the United States Navy. ... A view of Yokosuka from Verny Park. ...


Planes were also dispatched and the pilot of one (Captain Les Schneider, USAF), managed to see the spacecraft as it descended. Three pararescuers jumped from the plane and attached the floation collar to the capsule. Three hours after landing the Mason had the spacecraft on board. Birthdate December 13, 1939 Hometown Woodstock, New York Education U.S. Air Force Academy Medals Distinguished Flying Cross Leslie (Les) George Schneider, born December 13, 1939, grew up in Woodstock, New York. ...


Had Gemini 8 landed in the western Atlantic Ocean (the scheduled recovery area) as planned, the U.S. Navy Atlantic Recovery Fleet's prime recovery ship was the carrier, USS Boxer. During this time the Wasp (the usual Atlantic Fleet Gemini recovery carrier) was in dry dock for repairs. The fifth USS Boxer (CV-21) (also CVA-21, CVS-21, LPH-4) was a United States Navy Ticonderoga-class aircraft carrier. ... The ninth USS Wasp (CV-18) of the United States Navy was an Essex-class aircraft carrier. ...


The Gemini 8 mission was supported by the following U.S. Department of Defense resources; 9,655 personnel, 96 aircraft and 16 ships.


Cause and outcome

Several things changed because of this mission. The Deputy Administrator of NASA, Robert Seamans, was at a dinner when the problem arose. Afterwards, he decided that he shouldn't be at public engagements during critical points in flights. Robert C. Seamans, Jr. ...


McDonnell, the main contractor on the spacecraft also changed its procedures. Usually, its top engineers would be at Cape Kennedy for the launch, then fly to Mission Control in Houston, Texas for the rest of the mission. The problem occurred while they were still flying to Houston. It was decided from then on that they would have people in both the Cape and Houston. The McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was an American aerospace manufacturer, based near St. ... Cape Canaveral is a strip of land in Brevard County, Florida, near the center of the Atlantic coast. ... Nickname: Space City Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: Counties Harris County Fort Bend County Montgomery County Mayor Bill White Area    - City 1,558 km²  (601. ...


No conclusive reason for the thruster sticking on was found. It was most probably caused by an electrical short, most likely due to a static electricity discharge. Even if the switch to the thruster was off, power could still flow to it. To prevent reccurrence of this problem, the system was changed, so that the thruster could be isolated. Static electricity is a class of phenomena involving the net charge present on an object; typically referring to charged object with voltages of sufficient magnitude to produce visible attraction, repulsion, and sparks. ...


Armstrong's calm-headedness and his ability to recover from an extremely dangerous space emergency was a pivotal factor in his selection as Apollo XI commander. The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned lunar landing. ...


Insignia

The flight patch for the mission shows the whole spectrum of objectives that were hoped to have been accomplished on Gemini 8. The Roman numerals at the bottom are IIVIII. The first "II" (which should have the upright strokes curved toward each other and is not to be confused with the Roman numeral "II" is the zodiacal symbol for Gemini and the following "VIII" is the mission number, eight. The two stars are Castor and Pollux, which are in the constellation of Gemini, and are refracted through a prism to provide the spectrum. Armstrong and Scott both designed the flight patch.


Capsule location

The capsule is on display at the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Wapakoneta, Ohio. Armstrong Air and Space Museum front entrance. ... Wapakoneta is a city in and the county seat of Auglaize CountyGR6, Ohio, United States with a population of 9,474 as of the 2000 U.S. census. ...


External links

 

Project Gemini Gemini program insignia
Previous mission: Gemini 6A Next mission: Gemini 9A
Gemini 1 | Gemini 2 | Gemini 3 | Gemini 4 | Gemini 5 | Gemini 7 | Gemini 6A | Gemini 8 | Gemini 9A | Gemini 10 | Gemini 11 | Gemini 12

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It was the 6th manned Gemini flight, the 12th manned American flight and the 22nd spaceflight of all time (includes X-15 flights over 100 km).
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Had Gemini 8 landed in the western Atlantic Ocean (the scheduled recovery area) as planned, the U. Navy Atlantic Recovery Fleet's prime recovery ship was the carrier, USS Boxer.
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