|G4C Suit / AMU Mod - |
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This space suit was designed to provide thermal protection to astronauts using the Astronaut Manoeuvring Unit (AMU). The suit was basically a David Clark Gemini G4C suit with leg covers of aluminised material added to prevent heat damage from the AMU thrusters. Astronaut Eugene Cernan wore the suit during the Gemini IX-A mission in June 1966 in an unsuccessful attempt to test the AMU during extravehicular activity.
The receiving inspection revealed nitrogen leaks in the propulsion system and oxygen leaks in the oxygen supply system. Reworking these systems to eliminate the leakage was completed on March 11. Following systems tests, the AMU was installed in spacecraft No. 9 (March 14-18).
Compatibility tests involving the ELSS, the astronaut maneuvering unit, and the spacecraft were completed March 24. The ELSS was returned to the contractor on April 6 for modification.
An ELSS/AMU Joint Combined System Test was run the following day and rerun April 21. The ELSS was then delivered to Manned Spacecraft Center for tests (April 22) while the AMU was prepared for installation in the adapter. The ELSS was returned to the Cape April 26. AMU Final Systems Test and installation for flight were accomplished May 7. The ELSS was serviced and installed for flight May 16.
Elliot See and Charlie Bassett were the prime crew for Gemini 9. On February 28, 1966, they were flying in a NASA T-38 trainer to visit the McDonnell plant in St Louis, where their spacecraft was in assembly. See misjudged his landing approach, and in pulling up from the runway hit Building 101 where the spacecraft was being assembled. Both astronauts were killed, and 14 persons on the ground were injured. As a result, the Gemini 9 backup crew became the prime crew, and all subsequent crew assignments were reshuffled. This ended up determining who would be the first man on the moon....
NASA Headquarters deleted the AMU experiment from the extravehicular activities (EVA) planned for the Gemini XII mission. Persistent problems in performing EVA on earlier flights had slowed the originally planned step-by-step increase in the complexity of EVA. With only one flight left, George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, felt that more work was required on EVA fundamentals - the performance of easily monitored and calibrated basic tasks. On this flight, the pilot would remove, install, and tighten bolts, operate connectors and hooks, strip velcro, and cut cables.