|astronautix.com||Atlas Target Docking Adapter|
|Atlas ATDA - |
Credit: © Mark Wade. 1,025 bytes. 149 x 156 pixels.
Unique launch of Gemini docking collar by an Atlas when Agena stage not available. Fairing separation failed.
Total Mass: 794 kg.
Tests comprised four separations at simulated altitudes, all sucessful. After test data had been analyzed, the shroud was judged to be flightworthy.
Systems Assurance Tests were completed January 25, vibration tests January 27. Simulated flight and phasing tests were conducted January 30-February 1. The ATDA was shipped to Cape Kennedy February 4.
The ATDA achieved a near-circular orbit (apogee 161.5, perigee 158.5 nautical miles). One hour and 40 minutes later, the scheduled launch of Gemini IX-A was postponed by a ground equipment failure which prevented the transfer of updating information from Cape Kennedy mission control center to the spacecraft computer. The mission was recycled for launch on June 3, following a prepared 48-hour recycle plan. Anomalous telemetry indicated some sort of problem with the target, but it was not until Gemini IX rendezvoused with it in orbit that it was seen that fairing separation had failed.