|Titan 2 Gemini - The Titan 2 ICBM was used for launch of the Gemini manned spacecraft.|
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ICBM, used as Gemini launch vehicle in 1960's. When ICBM's retired in 1980's they were refurbished and new series of launches began.
Launches: 21. Failures: 1. Success Rate: 95.24% pct. First Launch Date: 08 April 1964. Last Launch Date: 21 September 2000. LEO Payload: 3,100 kg. to: 185 km Orbit. Liftoff Thrust: 193,070 kgf. Total Mass: 150,530 kg. Core Diameter: 3.1 m. Total Length: 36.0 m. Development Cost $: 400.00 million. in 1963 average dollars. Launch Price $: 34.00 million. in 1994 price dollars. Total Development Built: 23. Total Production Built: 108. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 3.16 million. in 1969 unit dollars. Cost comments: Cost of refurbishment and launch of 14 surplus ICBM's in 1997 was $ 660 million = $ 47 million per launch.
Phase I development contract for Dyna-Soar boost-glide orbital spacecraft awarded by USAF to two teams of contractors headed by Martin Co. (Bell, American Machine & Foundry, Bendix, Goodyear, and Minneapolis-Honeywell) and the Boeing Co. (Aerojet, General Electric, Ramo-Wooldridge, North American, and Chance Vought).
First formal NASA/McDonnell discussions on Mercury Mark II (Gemini).
Albert C. Hall of The Martin Company proposed to Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA's Associate Administrator, that the Titan II be considered as a launch vehicle in the lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans arranged for a more formal presentation the next day. Abe Silverstein, NASA's Director of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and STG to study the possible uses of Titan II. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.
Martin Company personnel briefed NASA officials in Washington, D.C., on the Titan II weapon system. Albert C. Hall of Martin had contacted NASA's Associate Administrator, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., on April 7 to propose the Titan II as a launch vehicle for a lunar landing program. Although skeptical, Seamans nevertheless arranged for a more formal presentation. Abe Silverstein, NASA Director, Office of Space Flight Programs, was sufficiently impressed by the Martin briefing to ask Director Robert R. Gilruth and Space Task Group to study possible Titan II uses. Silverstein shortly informed Seamans of the possibility of using the Titan II to launch a scaled-up Mercury spacecraft.
James L. Decker of Martin Company submitted a proposal for a Titan-boosted Mercury vehicle. A Mercury-Titan program, expected to span an 18-month flight schedule, would benefit from the Air Force's booster development and test of the ballistic missile system and the considerable design and test that the Air Force had expended in the Dyna-Soar program to adapt the vehicle to manned spaceflight. The Titan, with its sea-level rating of 430,000 pounds of thrust in the first stage and 100,000 pounds in the second stage, was capable of lifting significantly heavier spacecraft payloads than the Mercury-Atlas. Its hypergolic propulsion system, using storable liquid propellants, was a much simpler system than the cryogenic propellant system in Atlas. A highly reliable booster could be provided, employing complete redundancy in the flight control systems in the form of a three-axis reference system, autopilot, servo, electrical, and hydraulic systems. The short time he proposed would depend on the availability of pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, planned for conversion to the Titan II configuration. Pad 19, unlike the other three Titan I pads, had been intended for space applications and was better designed for required prelaunch test programs.
Representatives of Martin Company briefed Director Robert R. Gilruth and some of the senior staff of Space Task Group on Titan II technical characteristics and expected performance. At a senior staff meeting four days later, August 7, Gilruth commented on the Titan II's promise for manned spaceflight, particularly its potential ability to place larger payloads in orbit than could Atlas, which would make it 'a desirable booster for a two-man spacecraft.' Martin had estimated the cost of procuring and launching nine Titan II boosters, with cost of ancillary equipment, at $47.889 million spread over fiscal years 1962 through 1964.
Martin Company received informal indications from the Air Force that Titan II would be selected as the launch vehicle for NASA's advanced Mercury. Martin, Air Force, and NASA studied the feasibility of modifying complex 19 at Cape Canaveral from the Titan weapon system configuration to the Mercury Mark II launch vehicle configuration.
USAF Titan I launched from Cape Canaveral carrying Titan II guidance system.
Space Task Group (STG), assisted by George M. Low, NASA Assistant Director for Space Flight Operations, and Warren J. North of Low's office, prepared a project summary presenting a program of manned spaceflight for 1963-1965. This was the final version of the Project Development Plan, work on which had been initiated August 14. Additional Details: Program of manned spaceflight for 1963-1965..
On the basis of a report of the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., NASA Associate Administrator, and John H. Rubel, Department of Defense Deputy Director for Defense Research and Engineering, recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara that the weapon system of the Titan II, with minimal modifications, be approved for the Mercury Mark II rendezvous mission. The planning group had first met in August 1961 to survey the Nation's launch vehicle program and was recalled in November to consider Titan II, Titan II-1/2, and Titan III. On November 16, McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb had also begun discussing the use of Titan II.
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and John H. Rubel, Department of Defense (DOD) Deputy Director for Defense Research and Engineering, offered recommendations to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara on the division of effort between NASA and DOD in the Mark II program. They stressed NASA's primary responsibility for managing and directing the program, although attaining the program objectives would be facilitated by using DOD (especially Air Force) resources in a contractor relation to NASA. In addition, DOD personnel would aquire useful experience in manned spaceflight design, development, and operations. Space Systems Division of Air Force Systems Command became NASA's contractor for developing, procuring, and launching Titan II and Atlas-Agena vehicles for the Mark II program.
In Houston, Director Robert R. Gilruth of Manned Spacecraft Center announced plans to develop a two-man Mercury capsule. Built by McDonnell, it would be similar in shape to the Mercury capsule but slightly larger and from two to three times heavier. Its booster would be a modified Titan II. A major program objective would be orbital rendezvous. The two-man spacecraft would be launched into orbit and would attempt to rendezvous with an Agena stage put into orbit by an Atlas. Total cost of 12 capsules plus boosters and other equipment was estimated at $500 million. The two-man flight program would begin in the 1963-1964 period with several unmanned ballistic flights to test overall booster-spacecraft compatibility and system engineering. Several manned orbital flights would follow. Besides rendezvous flybys of the target vehicle, actual docking missions would be attempted in final flights. The spacecraft would be capable of missions of a week or more to train pilots for future long-duration circumlunar and lunar landing flights. The Mercury astronauts would serve as pilots for the program, but additional crew members might be phased in during the latter portions of the program.
Plans for the development of a two-man Mercury spacecraft were announced by Robert R. Gilruth, MSC Director. The two-man spacecraft, to be built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, would be similar in shape to the Mercury spacecraft but slightly larger and two to three times heavier. Its booster rocket would be a modified Air Force Titan II, scheduled for flight test in early 1962. One of the major objectives in the program would be a test of orbital rendezvous, in which the two-man spacecraft would be launched into orbit by the Titan II and attempt to rendezvous with an Agena stage launched by an Atlas rocket. The total cost for a dozen two-man spacecraft plus boosters and other equipment was estimated at $500 million.
NASA Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., and DOD Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering John H. Rubel recommended to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and NASA Administrator James E. Webb that detailed arrangements for support of the Mercury Mark II spacecraft and the Atlas-Agena vehicle used in rendezvous experiments be planned directly between NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight and the Air Force and other DOD organizations. NASA's primary responsibilities would be the overall management and direction for the Mercury Mark II/ Agena rendezvous development and experiments. The Air Force responsibilities would include acting as NASA contractor for the Titan II launch vehicle and for the Atlas-Agena vehicle to be used in rendezvous experiments. DOD's responsibilities would include assistance in the provision and selection of astronauts and the provision of launch, range, and recovery support, as required by NASA.
On December 27, Martin-Baltimore received a go-ahead on the launch vehicle from the Air Force. A letter contract for 15 Gemini launch vehicles and associated aerospace ground equipment followed on January 19, 1962.
Development time schedule for Dyna-Soar was reduced when DOD authorized the USAF to move directly from B-52 drop tests to unmanned and then manned orbital flights. This eliminated the previous interim stage of suborbital flights to be powered by the Titan II. This required renegotiation of the development contract held by the Martin Co. and negotiating of a new contract for a larger booster.
Titan II, an advanced ICBM and the booster designated for NASA's two-man orbital flights, was successfully captive-fired for the first time at the Martin Co.'s Denver facilities. The test not only tested the flight vehicle but the checkout and launch equipment intended for operational use.
NASA would be responsible for overall program planning, direction, systems engineering, and operation-including Gemini spacecraft development; Gemini/Agena rendezvous and docking equipment development; Titan II/Gemini spacecraft systems integration; launch, flight, and recovery operations; command, tracking, and telemetry during orbital operations; and reciprocal support of Department of Defense space projects and programs within the scope of the Gemini program. Department of Defense would be responsible for: Titan II development and procurement, Atlas procurement, Agena procurement, Atlas-Agena systems integration, launch of Titan II and Atlas-Agena vehicles, range support, and recovery support. A slightly revised version of the plan was signed in approval on March 27 by General Bernard A. Schriever, Commander, Air Force Systems Command, for the Air Force, and D. Brainerd Holmes, Director of Manned Space Flight, for NASA.
Manned Spacecraft Center prepared a Statement of Work to be accomplished by Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) in its role as contractor to NASA for the procurement of Titan II launch vehicles for the Gemini program. The launch vehicle would retain the general aerodynamic shape, basic systems, and propulsion concepts of the missile. Modifications, primarily for crew safety, were to be kept to a minimum. The Statement of Work accompanied a purchase request for $27 million, dated January 5, 1962, for 15 Titan launch vehicles. Pending ratification of the Gemini Operational and Management Plan, however, funding was limited to $3 million. To oversee this work, SSD established a Gemini Launch Vehicle Directorate, headed by Colonel Richard C. Dineen, on January 11. Initial budgeting and planning were completed by the end of March, and a final Statement of Work was issued May 14; although amended, it remained in effect throughout the program.
After investigating potential malfunction problems of the modified Titan II/Gemini launch vehicle, Martin-Baltimore prepared a study report with plans to provide the components necessary to ensure flight safety and enhance reliability. Martin defined the malfunction problem quantitatively in terms of the probability of each cause and its characteristic effect on the system and vehicle. Martin intended to keep the launch vehicle as much like the weapon system as possible; thus the data obtained from the Air Force's weapon system development program would be applicable to the launch vehicle. Only minimal modifications to enhance probability of mission success, to increase pilot safety, and to accommodate the Gemini spacecraft as the payload were to be made. These included a malfunction detection system; backup guidance, control, and hydraulic systems; and selective electrical redundancies.
Air Force Space Systems Division issued a Technical Operating Plan to Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California, for support of the Gemini Launch Vehicle Program; a contract followed on March 15. Aerospace was to assume responsibility for general systems engineering and technical direction of the development of the launch vehicle and its associated subsystems. Aerospace had already established a Gemini Launch Vehicle Program Office in January.
Martin-Baltimore submitted its initial proposal for the redundant flight control and hydraulic subsystems for the Gemini launch vehicle; on March 1, Martin was authorized to proceed with study and design work. The major change in the flight control system from Titan II missile to Gemini launch vehicle was substitution of the General Electric Mod IIIG radio guidance system (RGS) and Titan I three-axis reference system for the Titan II inertial guidance system. Air Force Space Systems Division issued a letter contract to General Electric Company, Syracuse, New York, for the RGS on June 27. Technical liaison, computer programs, and ground-based computer operation and maintenance were contracted to Burroughs Corporation, Paoli, Pennsylvania, on July 3.
The Air Force successfully launched a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. This was the first full-scale test of the vehicle; it flew 8000 km out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Air Force Space Systems Division awarded a letter contract to Aerojet-General Corporation, Azusa, California, for the research, development, and procurement of 15 propulsion systems for the Gemini launch vehicle. It also included the design and development of the related aerospace ground equipment. Aerojet had been authorized to go ahead with work on the engines on February 14, 1962, and the final engine was scheduled for delivery by April 1965.
|Titan 2 SLV|
Credit: NASA. 19,047 bytes. 202 x 664 pixels.
From experience in Titan II and Mercury programs, the planners estimated a budget of $164.4 million, including a 50 percent contingency for cost increases and unforeseen changes.
This document laid the foundation for the design of the Gemini launch vehicle by defining the concept and philosophy of each proposed subsystem.
James E. Webb, NASA's new Administrator, reviewed the Gemini program. Project Gemini cost estimates at this point ($744.3 million) had increased substantially over the original estimate of $250 million. Estimated spacecraft cost had risen from $240.5 to $391.6 million; Titan II cost, from $113.0 to $161.8 million; Atlas-Agena, from $88.0 to $106.3 million; and supporting development (including the paraglider program), from $29.0 to $36.8 million. Estimated operations costs had declined from $59.0 to $47.8 million.
Gemini Project Office (GPO) and Aerospace had agreed on the need for such a group at a Gemini-Titan coordination meeting on May 11. The main function of the group, composed of Martin and McDonnell personnel with a McDonnell representative as chairman, was to provide mutual exchange of design and physical data on mechanical, electrical, and structural details between the spacecraft contractor and the booster contractor. The group would make no policy decisions; its actions were to be reviewed at regularly scheduled coordination meetings held by GPO.
The Air Force had originally constructed pad 19 for the Titan I development program. Following the final Titan I development flight (January 29) from the Cape, design of the required modifications had begun in February. In April, Gemini Project Office decided that Pad 19 would have an erector rather than a gantry, the upper third of which would be designed as a white room. The final design review of pad 19 modifications took place July 9-10, and the Army Corps of Engineers awarded the construction contract to Consolidated Steel, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Construction began in September. Work was completed and pad 19 was activated on October 17, 1963.
Representatives from Avco Manufacturing Corporation made a presentation to MSC on a proposal for a space station. Prime purpose of the station, company spokesmen said, was to determine the effects of zero-g on the crew's ability to stand reentry and thus fix the limit that man could safely remain in orbit. Avco's proposed station design comprised three separate tubes about 3 m in diameter and 6 m long, launched separately aboard Titan IIs and joined in a triangular shape in orbit. A standard Gemini spacecraft was to serve as ferry vehicle.
In this 3000-square-foot facility, all airborne systems in the Gemini launch vehicle - including flight control, hydraulic, electrical, instrumentation, and malfunction detection - were assembled on tables and benches; actual engines, but simulated propellant tanks and guidance, were used. In addition to individual and combined systems tests, the facility was used to check system design changes and trouble-shoot problems encountered in other test programs.
Gemini Project Office (GPO) had requested Martin to prepare Systems Division and Aerospace approved the plan and won GPO concurrence early in August. This so-call 'piggyback plan' required installing the Gemini MDS in Titan II engines on six Titan II flights to demonstrate its reliability before it was flown on Gemini.
A technical team at Air Force Missile Test Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida - responsible for detailed launch planning, consistency of arrangements with objectives, and coordination - met for the first time with official status and a new name. The group of representatives from all organizations supplying major support to the Gemini-Titan launch operations, formerly called the Gemini Operations Support Committee, was now called the Gemini-Titan Launch Operations Committee.
Gemini engines had to be more reliable than did intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) engines. This requirement meant supplementing the ICBM engine reliability program, a task being performed by Aerojet under Air Force Space Systems Division direction.
The budget was raised to $181.3 million. Cost increases in work on the vertical test facility at Martin's Baltimore plant, on the conversion of pad 19 at Cape Canaveral, and on aerospace ground equipment had already generated a budget increase to $172.6 million during September. The new Development Plan also indicated that the first launch date had slipped to December 1963.
The resulting cost-plus-fixed-fee contract included an estimated cost of $52.5 million and a fixed fee of $3.465 million. This contract covered the development and procurement of the first launch vehicle and preparations for manufacturing and procuring the remaining 14 vehicles required by the Gemini program.
Air Force Space Systems Division and Aerojet-General negotiated a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the first phase of the Gemini launch vehicle engine program, February 14, 1962, through June 30, 1963. The contract required delivery of one set of engines, with the remaining 14 sets included for planning purposes. Estimated cost of the contract was $13.9 million, with a fixed fee of $917,400 for a total of $14,817,400.
Titan II flight N-11, the eighth in a series being conducted by the Air Force to develop the weapon system, was launched from Cape Canaveral. It carried a design change intended to reduce the amplitude of longitudinal oscillations which had appeared during first stage operation on all seven previous Titan II flights. This phenomenon, which subsequently became known as POGO, generated g-forces as high as nine in the first stage and over three at the position on the missile corresponding to the location of the spacecraft on the Gemini launch vehicle. Fearing the potentially adverse effect on astronaut performance of such superimposed g-forces, NASA established 0.25g at 11 cycles per second as the maximum level tolerable for Gemini flights. As a first try at solving the POGO problem, Titan II N-11 carried standpipes in each leg of the stage I oxidizer feed lines to interrupt the coupling between the missile's structure and its propulsion system. This coupling was presumed to be the cause of the instability. Postflight analysis, however, revealed that the POGO fix was unsuccessful; longitudinal oscillation had actually been multiplied by a factor of two.
Air Force Space Systems Division established the Gemini Launch Vehicle Configuration Control Board to draw up and put into effect procedures for approving and disapproving specifications and engineering change proposals for the Gemini launch vehicle. It formally convened for the first time on March 5, 1963.
The agreement provided for the establishment of a joint NASA-DOD Gemini Program Planning Board. The board would plan experiments, conduct flight tests, and analyze and disseminate results. NASA would continue to manage Project Gemini, while DOD would take part in Gemini development, pilot training, preflight checkout, launch, and flight operations, and would be specifically responsible for the Titan II launch vehicle and the Atlas-Agena target vehicle. DOD would also contribute funds toward the attainment of Gemini objectives.
At a launch guidance and control coordination meeting, Aerospace described three Titan II development flight failures that had been caused by problems in the General Electrical Mod III airborne radio guidance system. Although these failures did not appear to be the result of inherent design faults that might react on the Gemini program, Aerospace felt that a tighter quality assurance program was needed: 'GE has a poor MOD III (G) quality control program, basically poor workmanship.'
Titan II development flight N-16 was launched from Cape Canaveral. This was the eleventh Titan II flight and the third to use increased pressure in the propellant tanks of stage I to reduce longitudinal oscillations (POGO). This was successful in reducing POGO levels to about 0.5 g, more than satisfactory from the standpoint of the weapon system. The Air Force was reluctant to expend weapon system funds in an effort to reduce POGO still further to the 0.25-g level NASA regarded as the maximum acceptable for manned flight.
First all SAC launch
First West Coast launch of a Titan 2 ICBM from an underground silo.
In a letter transmitting copies of the Gemini Launch Vehicle Pilot Safety Program to Gemini contractors and other organizations engaged in Gemini development and operations, Air Force Space Systems Division explained that pilot safety philosophy and procedures would be carried over from Mercury-Atlas to Gemini-Titan.
GLV propellant tank and skirt assemblies were manufactured, pressure-tested, and calibrated at Martin-Denver, then shipped to Baltimore where the GLV was assembled. Martin-Denver had begun major weld fabrication of GLV-1 and GLV-2 tanks in September 1962 and delivered the GLV-1 tanks to Martin-Baltimore on October 10. After extensive testing, the tanks went through a roll-out inspection February 14-16, 1963, by Air Force, NASA, Aerospace, and Martin personnel. The inspecting team rejected the stage II oxidizer tank because it was found to be cracked. The rejected tank was returned to Denver and replaced by the GLV-2 stage II oxidizer tank.
The Gemini Program Planning Board, meeting in Washington, agreed to the establishment of an ad hoc study group to compare NASA and Department of Defense (DOD) objectives for the Gemini program and to recommend DOD experiments for inclusion in the Gemini flight program. The group met in continuous session March 25 to April 26, presenting its final report to the board on May 6. The board then recommended that a program of inflight military experiments be immediately approved, that the Air Force establish a field office at Manned Spacecraft Center to manage DOD participation in the Gemini program in general and integration of experiments in particular, and that work on preventing longitudinal oscillations in stage I and combustion instability in stage II of the Gemini launch vehicle to be urgently pursued. The board declined to recommend additional flights in the Gemini program, as suggested by the study group, to encompass experiments that would not fit into the framework of the planned Gemini program. The Secretary of Defense and NASA Administrator concurred in the Board's recommendations.
The Titan II-Gemini Coordination Committee was established to direct efforts to reduce longitudinal vibration (POGO) in the Titan II and to improve engine reliability. Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD) and Aerospace had presented to NASA and the Air Force a series of briefings on the POGO problem that culminated in a briefing to the Gemini Program Planning Board. The main problem was that POGO level satisfactory in the weapon system was too high to meet NASA standards for the Gemini program, and further reduction in the POGO level required a much more elaborate and extensive analytic and experimental program than had so far been considered necessary. The board approved the SSD/Aerospace proposals and established a committee to oversee work toward a POGO remedy. The high-level committee was composed of officials from Air Force Ballistic Systems Division, SSD, Space Technology Laboratories, and Aerospace.
McDonnell presented data on spacecraft structural capabilities, but lack of data on what to expect from Titan II catastrophic failure meant that spacecraft structural capabilities remained a problem. Also some questions had existed as to what could happen to the adapter retrosection during and after an abort. A study had been made of this problem, assuming a 70,000 foot altitude condition, and there appeared to be no separation difficulties. This study investigated the period of up to 10 seconds after separation, and there was no evidence that recontact would occur.
Modifications of launch complexes 19 and 14, of the tracking network, and of Atlantic Missile Range checkout facilities were all on schedule, although no margin remained for complex 19 work. The Atlas and Agena presented no problems, but the Gemini launch vehicle schedule was tight; technical problems, notably stage I longitudinal oscillations and stage II engine instability, were compounded by funding difficulties. The Gemini spacecraft, suffering from late deliveries by subcontractors, was being reprogrammed.
The plan covered the development work required to man-rate the Titan II beyond the requirements of the Titan II weapon system and included three major areas: (1) reducing longitudinal oscillation levels to NASA requirements, (2) reducing the incidence of stage II engine combustion instability, and (3) cleaning up the design of stage I and II engines and augmenting the continuing engine improvement program to enhance engine reliability. The work was to be funded by the Titan Program Office of Air Force Ballistics Systems Division and managed by the Titan II/Gemini Coordination Committee, which had been established April 1. NASA found the plan satisfactory.
Aerojet-General had provided a set of Type 'E' dummy engines March 18. These were installed and used to lay out tubing and wiring while the launch vehicle was being assembled. They were later removed and flight engines installed in stage II, May 7, and stage I, May 17. Some rework was required because of differences in configuration between the dummy and flight engines, and engine installation was completed May 21. Wiring and continuity checks followed (May 22-25), and final horizontal tests were completed May 27.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 2,209 bytes. 51 x 520 pixels.
Titan II flight N-20, the 19th in the series of Air Force research and development flights, was launched from Cape Canaveral. It carried oxidizer standpipes and fuel accumulators to suppress longitudinal oscillations (POGO). During the spring of 1963, static firings of this configuration had been successful enough to confirm the hypothesis that POGO was caused by coupling between the missile structure and its propulsion system, resulting in an unstable closed loop system. Standpipes and accumulators, by interrupting the coupling reduced the source of instability. Flight N-20 failed 55 seconds after launch and yielded no POGO data. Although the failure was not attributed to the installed POGO fix, Air Force Ballistics Systems Division decided officially that no further Titan II development flights would carry the POGO fix because so few test flights remained to qualify the weapon system operationally. This decision did not stand, however, and the POGO fix was flown again on N-25 (November 1), as well as on two later flights.
The VTF comprised a 165-foot tower and an adjacent three-story blockhouse with ground equipment similar to that used at complex 19. In it, the completely assembled Gemini launch vehicle was tested to provide a basis for comparison with subsequent tests conducted at complex 19. Each subsystem was tested separately, then combined systems tests were performed, concluding with the Combined Systems Acceptance Test, the final step before the launch vehicle was presented for Air Force acceptance.
Stage II was erected on June 9, and posterection inspection was completed June 12. Subsystem Functional Verification Tests began June 10.
The first launch in this so-called 'piggyback program' was scheduled for June 21. All preparations for this flight, including installation and checkout of all malfunction detection system components, were reported complete at a Titan II coordination meeting on June 14.
This was a new tank, replacing a tank rejected for heat treatment cracks. Stage II oxidizer tank and stage I fuel and oxidizer tanks were received July 12 after a roll-out inspection at Martin-Denver July 1-3.
Gemini Project Office (GPO) completed a test program on the centrifuge at Ames Research Center to evaluate the effects on pilot performance of longitudinal oscillations (POGO) of the Gemini launch vehicle. When subjected to oscillatory g-loads ranging from 0 to ± 3g superimposed on a steady-state load of 3.5g, pilot perception and performance decreased markedly above ± 0.25g. Primary effects were impaired pilot vision, reduced eye scan rate, masked sensory perception and kinesthetic cues, and degraded speech. GPO reconfirmed the need to reduce POGO to a maximum of 0.25g.
Acting Manager Charles W Mathews informed Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) senior staff that Gemini Project Office was exploring the possibility of backing up the first Gemini flight with a payload consisting of a boilerplate reentry module and a production adapter. NASA Headquarters approved the additional flight article in August and requested that the mission be designated Gemini-Titan (GT) 1A. Estimated cost was $1.5 to $2 million. The boilerplate to be used was originally planned for flotation tests at MSC. It was manufactured by local contractors and modified by MSC after it was delivered in September. The adapter, identical in configuration and instrumentation to the one used for spacecraft No. 1, was to be shipped directly from McDonnell to Cape Canaveral, along with telemetry equipment and wiring harnesses to be installed in the boilerplate at the Cape. The GT-1A mission, if it were flown, would be identical to GT-1, but it would be flown only if GT-1 failed to achieve its objectives. Boilerplate flight article 1A left for the Cape on December 13.
Electronic-Electrical Interference (EEI) Tests of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 1 began in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore, following a review by Air Force Space Systems Division and Aerospace of data from Sub-system Verification Tests. Purpose of EEI was to uncover any interference between GLV electrical and electronic systems. In the second EEI (August 2), five systems were found to produce unacceptable interference. Two systems still did not meet specification in the third EEI (August 10), but all interference problems were eliminated in the fourth (August 20). After modification of the flight control system, a fifth EEI revealed minor interference (September 3), all of which was cleared up in the final test on September 5. Problems were resolved by adding filters and grounds to aerospace ground equipment and airborne circuits. EEI tests were performed in conjunction with Combined Systems Tests, which began August 2.
Titan II development flight N-24 was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. This was the first of five flight tests in the Gemini malfunction detection system (MDS) piggyback series. All MDS parameters were lost 81 seconds after liftoff because of a short circuit in the MDS. Operation in the second flight (N-25 on November 1) was normal except for two minor instrumentation problems. Three more test flights (N-29 on December 12, 1963; N-31 on January 15, 1964; and N-33 on March 23, 1964) verified the performance of the Gemini MDS under actual conditions of flight environment and engine operation.
A Mission Planning Coordination Group was established at the request of the Gemini Project Office to review monthly activities in operations, network guidance and control, and trajectories and orbits; and to ensure the coordination of various Manned Spacecraft Center elements actively concerned with Gemini mission planning. Its first meeting was scheduled for September 9 to discuss Gemini mission planning documentation, Gemini-Titan (GT) 1 mission plan, MISTRAM (missile tracking and measurement system) requirements and use of the J-1 computer, and mission objectives and tests for GT-2 and GT-3.
Two preliminary CSAT dry runs had been conducted on August 2 and 17, in conjunction with Electronic-Electrical Interference (EEI) Tests. A third CSAT with EEI monitoring had been run on September 3 to clarify checkout procedures and recheck EEI results. CSAT included a complete launch countdown, simulated engine start, liftoff, and flight through stage II engine shutdown, ending with the simulated injection of the spacecraft into Earth orbit. Both primary and secondary guidance and control combinations were tested. Martin engineers reviewed the test data collected by aerospace ground equipment recorders and telemetry and presented the vehicle for final acceptance to the Air Force Space Systems Division/Aerospace Vehicle Acceptance Team on September 11.
On November 15, Aerojet-General received an Air Force contract to develop and test new engine components to correct weak and potentially dangerous problem areas of engine design. Aerojet-General had already initiated the development effort on September 30. The goal was to enhance engine reliability by a complete redesign rather than resort to piecemeal fixes as problems came up. While the primary goal was not achieved, the program did yield several side benefits, including the correction of several minor design deficiencies, the improvement of welding techniques, and the development of better assembly procedures.
The vehicle acceptance team for Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 1 inspected the vehicle and reviewed its manufacturing and testing history, focusing on the results of the Combined Systems Acceptance Test (CSAT) of September 6. The team found GLV-1 to be unacceptable, primarily because of severely contaminated electrical connectors. In addition, the qualification of a number of major components had not been properly documented. Between September 21 and 29, Martin engineers inspected all of the 350 electrical connectors on GLV-1 for contamination and found 180 requiring cleaning or replacement. All electrical connectors on GLV-2 were also reinspected and cleaned or replaced as needed. This extensive inspection invalidated much previous testing, requiring sub-system tests and CSAT to be rerun. Preliminary CSAT was completed October 2, final CSAT October 4.
McDonnell had sent a team to investigate the problem of high porosity welds in titanium battery cases. Another problem had turned up with the batteries in prequalification vibration test. The batteries vibrated excessively, although they did not fail electrically; the vibration's amplification factor was apparently low enough to be remedied by potting.
The fixed-price-incentive-fee contract had a target cost of $90,000, a target profit of $9,000, and a ceiling of $105,000. The incentive was based on cost only and provided for an 80/20 sharing arrangement; that is, the contractor would pay from his profit 20 percent of all savings under the target cost, or, alternatively, would receive 20 percent of all savings under the target cost. This meant that the contractor's profit would be zero after $97,500 was spent, and would be minus if costs exceeded $105,000.
Titan II development flights had shown the stage II engine tended toward incipient combustion instability. The Gemini Stability Improvement Program, begun as a backup, became a program aimed at maximum probability of success on December 24, 1963. The 18-month program produced a completely redesigned stage II engine injector.
Martin-Baltimore completed its evaluation of data from the second Combined Systems Acceptance Test of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 1, found it acceptable, and presented it to the GLV-1 vehicle acceptance team (VAT). VAT inspection resulted in the decision, on October 12, to ship GLV-1 to Atlantic Missile Range (AMR). Although the vehicle still lacked flight-qualified components, the VAT critique noted that having the GLV at AMR, even with non-flight equipment, would expedite the Gemini program by permitting early checkout of launch vehicle and complex compatibility and final acceptance of complex 19. GLV-1 was removed from the vertical test facility on October 12, tested for tank leaks, painted, weighed, inspected, and prepared for shipment. Air Force Space Systems Division formally accepted GLV-1 on October 25; the vehicle was airlifted to AMR the following day.
Personnel from Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), Air Force Ballistic Systems Division (BSD), and Titan II contractors met in Los Angeles to reconsider flying Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) fixes on Titan II development flights. BSD, which was responsible for the weapon system development program, had halted the installation of GLV fixes on the Titan II flights because of the limited number of flights remaining to qualify the missile. General Bernard A Schriever, Commander of Air Force Systems Command (of which BSD and SSD were subordinate division), intervened in support of an active program to clean up launch vehicle problem areas. The incorporation of GLV fixes on Titan II flights resumed on November 1 with the flight of Titan II N-25.
Stage I was erected in the complete vehicle erector October 28, stage II in the second stage erector October 29. The two stages were cabled together in the side-by-side configuration required for the Sequence Compatibility Firing scheduled for mid-December. A limited Electronic-Electrical Interference Test was completed November 7, and power was applied to the vehicle November 13.
Titan II development flight N-25 was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range. It carried the oxidizer surge chamber and fuel accumulator kit intended to reduce the amplitude of longitudinal vibration which had characterized earlier flights. NASA regarded 0.25g as the maximum level tolerable in manned space flight; this flight achieved a level of 0.22g, the first to fall within acceptable limits. Although the kit had been tested on only one flight, Gemini Project Office had sufficient confidence in it to decide, on November 6, to procure several more such kits for subsequent installation in Gemini launch vehicles. Two later Titan II development flights (N-29 on December 12, 1963, and N-31 on January 15, 1964) and the flight of Gemini-Titan 1 confirmed the validity of this decision. The required kits for the remaining Gemini launch vehicles were then procured.
The Gemini Management Panel, after reviewing the status of spacecraft and launch vehicle, decided that Gemini launch schedules need reexamination, especially the amount of testing at Cape Canaveral necessary to establish confidence in mission success. The panel directed Gemini Project Manager Charles W Mathews and Colonel Richard C Dineen, Chief, Gemini Launch Vehicle, Air Force Space Systems Division, to form an ad hoc group to make an intensive 30-day study of work plans and schedules, with the goal of achieving manned flight in 1964. The next day (November 24), NASA, Air Force, and industry program managers met at Cape to lay out study areas and then met at 10-day intervals to develop ground rules, review progress, and coordinate their efforts. Mathews reported the results of the study at the next panel meeting, December 13, and described the ground rules that might bring Gemini-Titan (GT) 3, the first manned flight, to a 1964 launch. The primary factory affecting the spacecraft would be reducing Cape duplication of tests already accomplished at McDonnell and integrating the entire test effort. Although integration of launch vehicle testing at the Cape and Martin was already fairly good, there was still room for improvement. The master schedule that emerged from this study showed the following launches: GT-1, March 17, 1964; GT-2, August 11; and GT-3, November 6. GT-1A was strictly a backup, to be flown only if GT-1 failed.
Objective of the experiment was to stimulate normal Agena/Gemini rendezvous and to repeat part of the maneuver using loss of signal/manual technique. Basically, the mission would use circular phasing and catch-up orbit as proposed by the Flight Crew Support Division. Exact fuel requirements and ground tracking requirement were under study by Flight Operations Division.
This agreement formalized NASA specifications and Air Force plans to clean up problems related to longitudinal oscillations (POGO), combustion instability, and engine improvement. The program to alleviate the POGO effect included ground proof tests of all subsystems modified to control oscillations. Flight tests of the solutions would be flown on Titan II missiles before application to the Gemini launch vehicle. For the combustion stability program, dynamic stability would be demonstrated through the use of artificially produced disturbances, with the engines being flight tested on unmanned vehicles as final proof of man-rating. Engine improvement was a program to correct all design deficiencies that had cropped up during the Titan II development flights.
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Splicing the oxidizer and fuel tanks for each stage was completed April 17, 1964. Flight engines arrived from Aerojet-General on May 10, and installation was completed June 6. Final horizontal tests of the assembled launch vehicle began June 1 and were concluded on June 17 with an Air Force inspection of GLV-3 before the vehicle was erected in the vertical test facility.
CST had been scheduled for December 13 but was delayed by late completion of the complex support systems for operational compatibility with the launch vehicle. The Wet Mock Simulated Flight for SCF was successfully completed January 7, 1964. The SCF scheduled for January 10 was discontinued at T-20 and rescheduled for January 14, when cold weather forced cancellation of the test. The SCF, a static firing of the stage I and stage II engines, was successfully conducted on January 21. Stage II erection in tandem followed on January 31.
Objectives of the operations were to evaluate man's capabilities to perform useful tasks in a space environment, to employ extravehicular operations to augment the basic capability of the spacecraft, and to provide the capability to evaluate advanced extravehicular equipment in support of manned space flight and other national space programs. Flight Crew Operations Directorate had initiated flight activities planning based on a schedule calling for: on Gemini-Titan (GT) 4, depressurizing the cabin, opening the hatch, and standing up; on GT-5, performing complete egress and ingress maneuvers; on GT-6, egressing and proceeding to the interior of the equipment adapter and retrieving data packages; on GT-7 and GT-8, evaluating maneuvering capabilities along the spacecraft exterior by using tether and handholds; on GT-9, evaluating astronaut maneuvering unit; and on GT-10 through GT-12, evaluating other advanced extravehicular equipment and procedures. Crew Systems Division, responsible for ground test of extravehicular equipment, had initiated egress and ingress exercises in a simulated zero-gravity environment.
GT-4 would be a battery-powered long-duration flight. The pod would go on GT-5, and thus the first planned Agena flight would probably slip in the schedule.
Test results demonstrated a very satisfactory minimum structural margin of 23 percent above ultimate conditions expected to be met in the transonic buffet conditions of launch. Plans were made to hold a structures meeting in Houston on March 17-19, 1964, for final review of all load conditions, stress distribution, and margins, in readiness for the Gemini-Titan 1 mission.
Stage II was erected February 7. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests began February 21.
These repeated the SSFVT performed at Martin-Baltimore in the vertical test facility. Their purpose was to verify the vehicle's readiness to begin systems tests. SSFVT were completed on March 3.
Before GLV and spacecraft were electrically mated, the launch vehicle's status was reverified with a Combined Systems Test (CST) performed on March 10. A special series of Electronic-Electrical Interference (EEI) Tests began March 12 and ended March 25. Evaluation of test results confirmed that the intent of EEI testing had been accomplished, despite some persistent anomalies. A successful post-EEI systems reverification CST was performed March 27.
Tank splicing was completed July 21. Aerojet-General delivered the stage II flight engine June 26, the stage I engine July 28. Engine installation was completed September 4. Final horizontal tests were completed and reviewed October 26, with Martin authorized to erect the vehicle in the vertical test facility.
George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, informed Associate Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., that the launch vehicle 'no longer appears to be the pacing item in the Gemini program.'
GLV-1 had been shipped to the Cape equipped with several items to be used only for ground tests. These were replaced with flight units, beginning January 31. The GLV-1 Wet Mock Simulated Launch, a complete countdown exercise including propellant loading, was successfully completed April 2. Testing concluded on April 5 with a Simulated Flight Test.
The first Gemini mission, Gemini-Titan I, was launched from Complex 19 at Cape Kennedy at 11:00 a.m., e.s.t. This was an unmanned flight, using the first production Gemini spacecraft and a modified Titan II Gemini launch vehicle (GLV). The mission's primary purpose was to verify the structural integrity of the GLV and spacecraft, as well as to demonstrate the GLV's ability to place the spacecraft into a prescribed earth orbit. Mission plans did not include separation of the spacecraft from the second stage of the vehicle, and both were inserted into orbit as a unit six minutes after launch. The planned mission encompassed only the first three orbits and ended about four hours and 50 minutes after liftoff. No recovery was planned for this mission, but Goddard continued to track the spacecraft until it reentered the atmosphere on the 64th orbital pass over the southern Atlantic Ocean (April 12) and disintegrated. The flight qualified the GLV and its systems and the structure of the spacecraft.
This Air Force conducted test program contributed significantly to the development of the Gemini launch vehicle; the Gemini malfunction detection system was tested on five flights, Gemini guidance components on three, and the longitudinal oscillation fix on four. In addition to flight testing these (and other) critical components, these flights also enhanced confidence in the use of the Titan II as a launch vehicle. Thirty-two Titan II test flights were analyzed to determine whether any characteristic of the flight would have demanded a Gemini abort; 22 were adjudged successful from the standpoint of a Gemini mission, nine would have required Gemini to abort, and one resulted in a prelaunch shutdown.
Oscillograph recorders monitored 20 GLV and aerospace ground equipment (AGE) circuits, five of which displayed anomalies. Two hydraulic switchover cicuits showed voltage transients exceeding failure criteria, but a special test fixed this anomaly in the AGE rather than the GLV.
According to the work schedule, GT-2 could fly on August 24 and GT-3 on November 16, with comfortable allowances for four-week slips for each mission. Some special attention was devoted to GT-2, where the spacecraft had become the pacing item, a position held by the launch vehicle on GT-1. Spacecraft No. 2 systems tests had started one month late but were proceeding well. In addition, the schedule looked tight for starting spacecraft No. 3 systems tests on June 1.
Three preliminary CSATs (April 17-20) had been completed and all anomalies resolved. Three additional nonscheduled tests were conducted on GLV-2 before it was removed from the test facility. A Radio Frequency Susceptibility Test was required to demonstrate the ability of GLV-2 ordnance to withstand an electromagnetic field strength up to 100 watts per square meter with live ordnance items connected in flight configuration (April 26). An Electrical-Electronic Interference Test was conducted across the interface between the GLV and a spacecraft simulator (May 1). The rate switch package, damaged in the CSAT of April 17, was replaced after formal CSAT and had to be retested.
The VAT inspection was completed May 1 with GLV-2 found acceptable. GLV-2 was deerected the next day (May 2) and transferred to the assembly area where the interim stage I engine was removed and the new flight engine installed (May 11-June 13). Representatives of Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), Aerospace, and NASA conducted the official roll-out inspection of GLV-2 June 17-18, and SSD formally accepted the vehicle June 22. GLV-2 delivery to Eastern Test Range (ETR), formerly Atlantic Missile Range, was rescheduled from June 22 to July 10. The time was used to complete modifications that had been scheduled at ETR. GLV-2 was airlifted to ETR on July 11.
Simulated wind velocities of 5 to 52 miles per hour did not produce loads great enough to be of concern. Tests had begun on April 15.
They found all major aspects of the crew station acceptable. A few items remained to be corrected but would not affect the launch schedule.
Group 1 (selected April 1959) and Group 2 (September 1962) astronauts averaged approximately 100 runs each whereas Group 3 (October 1963) astronauts completed 32 runs apiece. The Gemini-Titan 3 launch profile was simulated in detail, including such cues as noise, vibration, pitch and roll programming, and other motion cues which results from various launch anomalies. The training was completed July 30.
Air Force Space Systems Division's cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with Martin for 15 Gemini launch vehicles (GLV) and associated aerospace ground equipment was replaced by a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. Contract negotiations had been conducted between March 15 and April 30, 1964. The final contract contained cost, performance, and schedule incentives. Target cost was $111 million and target fee was $8.88 million. The maximum fee possible under the contract was $16.65 million as against a minimum of $3.33 million. The period of performance under the contract was July 1, 1963, through December 31, 1967, and covered the delivery of 14 GLVs (one GLV had already been delivered) and associated equipment and services, including checkout and launch.
Rendezvous at first apogee would probably be rejected because of possible dispersions which might necessitate plane changes. Rendezvous from concentric orbits seemed to be desirable because of the freedom in selection of the geographic position of rendezvous. Major work thus far, however, had been expended on the tangential rendezvous. Subsequently, the concentric orbit plan was chosen for Gemini-Titan 6, the first rendezvous mission.
Air Force Space Systems Division's cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with Aerojet-General for engines and related aerospace ground equipment for the Gemini launch vehicle was replaced by a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. Contract negotiations had been conducted between May 25 and June 17, 1964. The final contract covered the procurement of 14 sets of engines (one set had already been delivered) and associated equipment during the period from July 1, 1963, through December 31, 1967. Cost, performance, and schedule incentives made possible a maximum fee of $5,885,250 versus a minimum fee of $1,177,050. The initial target cost was $39,235,000 with a target fee of $3,138,800.
Stage II was erected June 22. Power was first applied June 29, and subsystems functional verification testing concluded July 31.
Aerojet-General delivered the flight engines for GLV-5 November 5. Tank splicing was completed December 5; engine installation December 9. Final horizontal tests were completed January 7, 1965.
SST continued through September. During August and September, test operations alternated with the receipt and installation of a number of flight items in the spacecraft. Vibration testing of the spacecraft and systems was successfully conducted August 20-24. No altitude chamber tests were performed on spacecraft No. 2 because the Gemini-Titan 2 mission was to be unmanned. Phase II mated SST concluded with the Simulated Flight Test September 3-15. The spacecraft acceptance review was held September 17-18, after which it was flown to Cape Kennedy September 21.
GT-4 would be a four-day mission using battery power. GT-5 would include radar and a rendezvous evaluation pod for rendezvous exercises early in the flight. The duration of this mission would be open-ended for a period of seven days, contingent upon the availability of fuel cells. GT-6 would be a standard rendezvous mission of perhaps two days' duration. GT-7 would be a long-duration mission with an open-ended potential of 14 days. George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator, Office of Manned Space Flight, was currently reviewing these plans.
Stage I was erected at complex 19 on July 13, stage II on July 14. Electrical power was applied to the vehicle on July 20 in preparation for Subsystems Functional Verification Tests, which began July 21.
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The backup crew for the mission would be Frank Borman, command pilot, and James A. Lovell, Jr., pilot. The mission was scheduled for up to four days' duration, with 10 or 11 experiments to be performed. At a press conference on July 29 at Manned Spacecraft Center, Deputy Gemini Program Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht said that on the second manned space flight an astronaut would first be exposed to the hazards of outer space without full spacecraft protection. Although he first said that the experiment would involve 'stepping into space,' he later modified this by saying that it might involve nothing more than opening a hatch and standing up. Other scientific experiments assigned to the GT-4 flight would include medical tests, radiation measurements, and measurement of Earth's magnetic field.
In response to a request from NASA Headquarters, Gemini Program Office (GPO) provided a study for Gemini missions beyond the 12 originally planned. 'The Advanced Gemini Missions Conceptual Study' described 16 further missions, including a space station experiment, a satellite chaser mission, a lifeboat rescue mission, and both a circumlunar and lunar orbiting mission. On February 28, 1965, GPO reported that a preliminary proposal for Gemini follow-on missions to test the land landing system had not been approved. Spare Gemini launch vehicles 13, 14, and 15 were canceled, and there were no current plans for Gemini missions beyond the approved 12-flight program.
The vehicle acceptance team (VAT) met August 17 to review CSAT and other test and manufacturing data. Because GLV-3 was not yet needed at the Cape, Manned Spacecraft Center, in line with Aerospace recommendations, decided to have all engineering changes installed at Baltimore instead of at the Cape. After reviewing these modifications, the VAT directed Martin to conduct a second CSAT when they were completed. Modifications were completed September 15; subsystems retest was finished September 28, and the second CSAT was completed September 30.
After being inspected, the tanks were placed in storage where they remained until December 18.
Several observers reported a lightning strike at or near complex 19. All testing was halted for a thorough investigation of this so-called electromagnetic incident. The inspection, completed on September 2, revealed no physical markings of any kind but disclosed a number of failed components, mostly in aerospace ground equipment (AGE) with some in GLV-2. This indicated that complex 19 had not been hit directly; damage was attributed to the electromagnetic effects of a nearby lightning strike or to resulting static charges. A recovery plan was prepared to restore confidence in all launch vehicle systems, AGE, ground instrumentation equipment, and facility systems. All components containing semiconductors were replaced, and all tests were to be conducted again as if GLV-2 had just arrived at Eastern Test Range.
Stage II of Gemini launch vehicle (GLV) 2 was deerected and stored; the erector was lowered to horizontal, and stage I was lashed in its vertical position. Stage II was reerected September 1. Power was applied to the launch vehicle September 2, and Subsystem Functional Verification Tests (SSFVT) began September 3. When forecasts indicated that Hurricane Dora would strike Cape Kennedy, both stages of GLV-2 were deerected on September 8 and secured in the Missile Assembly Building. Hurricane Ethel subsequently threatened the area, and both stages remained in the hanger until September 14, when they were returned to complex 19 and reerected. SSFVT, begun again on September 18, ended successfully October 5.
Manned Spacecraft Center had proposed dropping GLV-2 from the Gemini program because of possible ill effects resulting from the electromagnetic incident of August 17 and from Hurricane Cleo. GLV-3 would then be substituted for the second Gemini mission, and the program would be shortened by one flight. After reviewing the incidents, their effects, corrective action, and retesting, SSD, Martin, Aerospace, and Aerojet-General all felt GLV-2 should fly, and NASA accepted their recommendation.
Mating operations were completed September 27. In the meantime, the second phase of Spacecraft Systems Tests (SST) began. Vibration testing was accomplished November 7-8, and altitude chamber tests began November 12. During the manned portion of altitude tests, space suits for the Gemini-Titan 3 prime and backup crews were satisfactorily checked out, with no significant problems (November 15-19). The Simulated Flight Test (December 6-21) completed SST. After spacecraft acceptance review on December 22, it was shipped to Cape Kennedy January 3, 1965.
There it was inspected and connected to aerospace ground equipment (AGE), and hypergolic and cryogenic servicing was performed. Reentry control and orbit attitude and maneuver systems engines were static fired October 4-5. The spacecraft was moved to the Weight and Balance Building on October 10 for pyrotechnic buildup and installation of seats and pallets, completed October 17. The following day it was transferred to complex 19 and prepared for mating with Gemini launch vehicle 2. Premate systems testing was conducted October 21-27. Premate Simulated Flight Test was completed November 4.
One change concerned a previous assumption of a 20-day Agena lifetime; it was now established that the Agena would not be modified to provide this. As a result, greater emphasis had to be placed on ensuring spacecraft launch on the same day as the Agena, primarily by relieving the constraint of no Agena maneuvers. The restriction on using Agena maneuvers had been removed to increase the probability of achieving rendezvous within the few days that the Agena would remain an acceptable target.
A study was reviewed that proposed a combination to be used in the following manner: batteries would be used during peak load requirements; the fuel cell would supply the remaining mission power source requirements. The panal accepted the proposal, and McDonnell was directed to proceed with the plan. In addition, the group decided to remove the fuel cell from GT-4 and substitute batteries, pending the concurrence of NASA Headquarters. It also decided to fly older versions of the fuel cell in GT-2 (the redesigned version would be flown in the later manned flights) to gain flight experience with the component.
The schedule was as follows: Gemini-Titan (GT) 2, November 17; GT-3, January 30, 1965; and GT-4, April 12. For GT-4 through GT-7, three-month launch intervals were planned; for the remainder of the program, these intervals would be reduced to two and one half months.
This test, similar to CST performed at the Martin plant, comprised an abbreviated countdown and simulation of flight events, with a simulator representing electrical characteristics of the spacecraft; its purpose was to establish confidence in the launch vehicle. Electrical Electronic Interference Tests were completed October 12. Hurricane Isbell threatened the area on October 14-15, but its path was far enough south of the Cape to make deerection unnecessary, though testing was curtailed.
The meeting concluded on October 9 with the vehicle found acceptable and Martin was authorized to remove it from the vertical test cell. After final checks, weighing, and balancing, GLV-3 passed roll-out inspection on October 27 and was turned over to the Air Force. Air Force Space Systems Division formally accepted GLV-3, following a review of launch vehicle status and correction of discrepancy items.
201 in the Ellington Air Force Base flotation tank. The backup GT-4 crew was scheduled for such training on October 23. Full-scale egress and recovery training for both the GT-3 and the GT-4 crews was scheduled to begin about January 15, when parachute refresher courses would also be scheduled.
Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on November 4. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed November 19.
The Joint Combined Systems Test was run the following day. This was the first test of launch vehicle and spacecraft combined systems. It consisted of an abbreviated countdown and two plus-time flight simulations, one to exercise the primary guidance system, the second to exercise the secondary system. A second combined systems test, the Flight Configuration Mode Test (FCMT), was completed November 21 in preparation for the Wet Mock Simulated Launch. FCMT was essentially similar to other combined systems tests except that all umbilicals were dropped.
Procedures for flight crew suiting and spacecraft ingress were practiced during simulated launch. The primary Gemini-Titan 3 flight crew donned the training suits and full biomedical instrumentation, assisted by the space suit bioinstrumentation and aeromedical personnel who would participate in the GT-3 launch operation. As a result of this practice operation, it was established that all physical examinations, bioinstrumentation sensor attachment, and suit donning would be done in the pilot ready room at complex 16. The final readiness of the vehicle for flight was established by the Simulated Flight Test on December 3. For the launch vehicle, this test was a repeat of the Joint Combined Systems Test, but for the spacecraft it was a detailed mission simulation.
Shipment was delayed, however, because GLV-2 had not yet been launched; and several modifications, scheduled for the Cape, were made at Baltimore instead. All work was completed by January 14, 1965; the vehicle was reinspected and was again available for delivery. Preparations for shipment were completed January 20, and stage II was airlifted to Cape Kennedy January 21, followed by stage I January 23.
The vehicle acceptance team inspected the vehicle and reviewed all test and manufacturing data December 11-13 and authorized Martin to remove GLV-4 from the vertical test cell. During the next three months, while awaiting shipment to Cape Kennedy, GLV-4 had 27 engineering changes installed. Final integrity checks, weighing, and balancing were completed March 8, 1965.
2 in Houston. The initial week of training was devoted to familiarizing the crew with the interior of the spacecraft.
Gemini-Titan (GT) 2 launch countdown began at 4:00 a.m., e.s.t., and proceeded normally, with minor holds, until about one second after engine ignition. At that point a shutdown signal from the master operations control set (MOCS) terminated the launch attempt. Loss of hydraulic pressure in the primary guidance and control system of stage I of the launch vehicle caused an automatic switchover to the secondary guidance and control system. During the 3.2-second holddown following ignition command, switchover was instrumented as a shutdown command. Accordingly, the MOCS killed the launch attempt. Subsequent investigation disclosed that loss of hydraulic pressure had been caused by failure of the primary servo-valve in one of the four tandem actuators which control movement of the stage I thrust chambers. All four stage I tandem actuators were replaced with redesigned actuators.
The Mission Control Center at Houston was used passively and in parallel with the Mission Control Center at the Cape in the Gemini-Titan 2 launch attempt, primarily to validate the computer launch programs. In addition, considerable use was made of the telemetry processing program and related television display formats. The Houston control center received, processed, and displayed live and simulated Gemini launch vehicle and spacecraft data. Test results were considered very successful.
Phase II provided refresher training for Gemini-Titan 3 and 4 flight crews, who made their runs clad in pressure suits. For astronauts not yet officially assigned to a mission the program provided familiarization training under shirt-sleeve conditions. Phase II had begun early in November.
Cleaning the tanks and purging them with nitrogen was completed February 5, 1965. Aerojet-General delivered the flight engines for GLV-6 February 1. Tank splicing was completed February 23, engine installation, February 25. GLV-6 horizontal testing was completed April 3.
The problem was to ensure the safe reentry of the astronauts even should it become impossible to fire the retrorockets effectively. The Headquarters proposal incorporated three orbit attitude and maneuver system maneuvers to establish a fail-safe orbit from which the spacecraft would reenter the atmosphere whether the retrorockets fired or not. This proposal, as refined by Mission Planning and Analysis Division, became part of the flight plans for GT-3 and GT-4.
Although some retesting began shortly after the Gemini-Titan 2 mission was scrubbed on December 9, 1964, most activity in preparing GLV-2 for another launch attempt was curtailed until the new actuators arrived. Subsystems retesting then began. The final combined systems test - the Simulated Flight Test - was completed January 14, with launch scheduled for January 19.
The mock-up was installed in a KC-135 aircraft to provide astronauts with the opportunity to practice extravehicular activities under weightless conditions. The Gemini-Titan (GT) 3 flight crew participated in the opening exercises, which were duplicated the next day by the GT-4 flight crew.
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The findings and recommendations were presented to George E. Mueller, NASA Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, on January 19. The task force concluded that an accelerated launch schedule could be fully achieved by Gemini-Titan 6. This required flight-ready vehicles delivered from the factory, with most testing done at the factory rather than at the Cape. Among the major changes caused by implementation of this plan were: spacecraft altitude testing only at McDonnell, activation of the second cell in the vertical test facility at Martin-Baltimore, simplification of subsystems testing at the Cape, and elimination of electronic interference testing and the Flight Configuration Mode Test.
The study of 325 missile countdowns, 205 missile launches, as well as all Titan scrubs and holds, indicated that GLV launching would be considerably improved and a great many scrubs precluded by the addition of such holds.
The second Gemini mission, an unmanned suborbital flight designated Gemini-Titan 2 (GT-2), was successfully launched from complex 19 at Cape Kennedy at 9:04 a.m., e.s.t. Major objectives of this mission were to demonstrate the adequacy of the spacecraft reentry module's heat protection during a maximum-heating-rate reentry, the structural integrity of the spacecraft from liftoff through reentry, and the satisfactory performance of spacecraft systems. Secondary objectives included obtaining test results on communications, cryogenics, fuel cell and reactant supply system, and further qualification of the launch vehicle. All objectives were achieved, with one exception: no fuel cell test results were obtained because the system malfunctioned before liftoff and was deactivated. GT-2 was a suborbital ballistic flight which reached a maximum altitude of 92.4 nautical miles. Retrorockets fired 6 minutes 54 seconds after launch, and the spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean 11 minutes 22 seconds later - 1848 nautical miles southeast of the launch site. Full duration of the mission was 18 minutes 16 seconds. The primary recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain, picked up the spacecraft at 10:52 a.m., e.s.t. Additional Details: Gemini 2.
Power was applied January 29 and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests (SSFVT) commenced. SSFVT were finished February 12. The Combined Systems Test before spacecraft mating was conducted February 15-16.
Test operations began February 9 with premate systems tests, which lasted until February 13. These were followed by a premate Simulated Flight Test, February 14-16. Data from this testing were compared with data from Spacecraft Systems Tests at McDonnell and predelivery acceptance tests at vendors' plants. The purpose of these tests was to integrate the spacecraft with the launch complex and take a last detailed look at the functioning of all spacecraft systems (especially those in the adapter) before the spacecraft was mechanically mated to the launch vehicle.
Stage II was erected February 8. Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on February 15, and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed March 8. Another modification period followed.
Backup crew would be Neil A. Armstrong and Elliot M. See, Jr.
Director of Flight Operations Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., told the Manned Spacecraft Center senior staff that the Gemini-Titan (GT) 3 mission might be flown between March 22 and 25, although it was officially scheduled for the second quarter of 1965. In addition, the Houston control center was being considered for use in the GT-4 mission.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation Test was completed February 19, the Joint Guidance and Control Test on February 22. Gemini-Titan 3 combined systems testing included the Joint Combined Systems Test on February 24 and the Flight Configuration Mode Test on March 3.
During the week, the Gemini-Titan 3 prime crew participated in egress training from static article No. 5 in the Gulf of Mexico. After half an hour of postlanding cockpit checks with the hatches closed, Astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young practiced the emergency egress procedures developed by the flight crew training staff for Gemini. Both pilots then egressed through the left (command pilot's) hatch, after first heaving their survival kits into the water. Each astronaut then practiced boarding a Gemini one-man life raft. Swimmers were standing by in a larger raft.
Tank fabrication had begun in May 1964. Martin-Baltimore recleaned and purged the tanks with nitrogen by April 20, 1965. In the meantime, flight engines for GLV-7 arrived from Aerojet-General on April 17. Tank splicing was completed May 6 and engine installation May 20. All horizontal testing was completed June 14. A modification period followed.
Procedures were carried out for moving the flight crew from their quarters in the Manned Spacecraft Center operations building at Merritt Island to the pilot's ready room at complex 16 at Cape Kennedy. Complete flight crew suiting operation in the ready room, the transfer to complex 19, and crew ingress into the spacecraft were practiced. Practice countdown proceeded smoothly and indicated that equipment and procedures were flight ready.
Chief executives of all major Gemini contractors certified the readiness of their products for manned space flight. Gemini-Titan 3 was ready for launch as soon as the planned test and checkout procedures at Cape Kennedy were completed.
Countdown exercises were concluded on March 18 with the Simulated Flight Test.
Air Force Space Systems Division formally accepted delivery of the vehicle March 21, and preparations to ship it to Cape Kennedy began at once. GLV-4 stage I arrived at the Cape March 22, followed the next day by stage II.
At a meeting of the Gemini Trajectory and Orbits Panel, Air Force Space Systems Division repeated its position that on Gemini-Titan 6 the nominal plan should not call for use in orbit of the Agena primary propulsion system, since it would not be qualified in actual flight before this mission. At the same meeting , Gemini Program Office announced that a decision had been made to provide only enough electrical power for 22 orbits on spacecraft No. 6. This spacecraft constraint, combined with reentry and recovery considerations, would restrict the nominal mission plan to approximately 15 orbits.
Representatives of Air Force Space Systems Division (SSD), Aerospace, Lockheed, and Gemini Program Office met at Sunnyvale for the monthly Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) Management-Technical Review. SSD recommended that the current configuration of the oxidizer gas generator solenoid valve be removed from GATV 5001 because of the recent failure of the valve during 38-day oxidizer star-system storage tests at Bell Aerosystems. Following the meeting, Lockheed formed a team to evaluate the design of the valve. A redesigned valve began qualification tests in July.
First manned test flight of Gemini. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young entered an elliptical orbit about the earth. After three orbits, the pair manually landed their spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean, thus performing the first controlled reentry. Unfortunately, they landed much farther from the landing zone than anticipated, about 97 km (60 miles) from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. But otherwise the mission was highly successful. Gemini III, America's first two-manned space mission, also was the first manned vehicle that was maneuverable. Grissom used the vehicle's maneuvering rockets to effect orbital and plane changes. Grissom wanted to name the spacecraft 'Molly Brown' (as in the Unsinkable, a Debbie Reynolds/Howard Keel screen musical). NASA was not amused and stopped allowing the astronauts to name their spacecraft (until forced to when having two spacecraft aloft at once during the Apollo missions). The flight by Young was the first of an astronaut outside of the original seven. Young, who created a media flap by taking a corned beef sandwich aboard as a prank, would go on to fly to the moon on Apollo and the Space Shuttle on its first flight sixteen years later. Additional Details: Gemini 3.
The possibility of doing more than the previously planned stand-up form of extravehicular activity (EVA) was introduced at an informal meeting in the office of Director Robert R. Gilruth at Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). Present at the meeting, in addition to Gilruth and Deputy Director George M. Low, were Richard S. Johnston of Crew Systems Division (CSD) and Warren J. North of Flight Crew Operations Division. Johnston presented a mock-up of an EVA chestpack, as well as a prototype hand-held maneuvering unit. North expressed his division's confidence that an umbilical EVA could be successfully achieved on the Gemini-Titan 4 mission. Receiving a go-ahead from Gilruth, CSD briefed George E. Mueller, Associate Administrator for Mannned Space Flight, on April 3 in Washington. He, in turn, briefed the Headquarters Directorates. The relevant MSC divisions were given tentative approval to continue the preparations and training required for the operation. Associate Administrator of NASA, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., visited MSC for further briefing on May 14. The enthusiasm he carried back to Washington regarding flight-readiness soon prompted final Headquarters approval.
After the vehicle had been inspected, umbilicals were connected March 31 and power applied April 2. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests began immediately and were completed April 15. The Prespacecraft Mate Combined Systems Test was conducted the next day (April 16).
Manned Spacecraft Center announced that Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Thomas P. Stafford had been selected as command pilot and pilot for Gemini-Titan 6, the first Gemini rendezvous and docking mission. Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young would be the backup crew.
GLV-6 was the first vehicle in the new west test cell, which Martin had finished installing and checking out in January. At this time, GLV-5 was still undergoing vertical tests in the other test cell. Because both cells used the same power sources and aerospace ground equipment connections, simultaneous testing was impossible; however, one vehicle could be inspected and prepared for test while the other was being tested. Power was applied to GLV-6 for the first time on May 13. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests continued until June 22.
Tank fabrication had begun September 25, 1964. Aerojet-General delivered the stage I engine on June 16 and the stage II on August 20. In the meantime, tank splicing was completed August 3. Engine installation was completed September 23, and all hoizontal testing ended September 27.
Four earlier CSAT attempts (April 15-20) were marred by numerous minor anomalies. The vehicle acceptance team inspection began April 26 and concluded April 30, with GLV-5 found acceptable. The vehicle was removed from the test cell May 7-8, formally accepted by the Air Force May 15, and shipped to Cape Kennedy. Stage I arrived at the Cape on May 17 and stage II on May 19.
Alternate procedures for delayed mode 2 abort would be investigated when the Manned Spacecraft Center abort trainer became available to the GT-5 mission.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test were completed April 26-29. These had been separate tests for earlier vehicles, but from Gemini-Titan 4 on, the tests were combined and performed as one. The spacecraft/GLV Joint Combined Systems Test followed on April 30. The Flight Configuration Mode Test finished systems testing May 7.
The spacecraft was then demated from the launch vehicle in order to replace the batteries in the spacecraft adapter; flight seats were also installed and crew stowage evaluated. While this planned replacement was being carried out, the launch vehicle was the subject of a special tanking test (May 19) to determine the cause of the apparent loading inaccuracies that had turned up during WMSL. The problem was located in the stage II flowmeters, which were replaced (May 21) and checked out in a third tanking test (of stage II only) on May 27. In the meantime, launch vehicle and spacecraft were remated on May 22. The Simulated Flight Test of GT-4 on May 29 concluded prelaunch testing.
The second manned and first long-duration mission in the Gemini program. Major objectives of the four-day mission were demonstrating and evaluating the performance of spacecraft systems in a long-duration flight and evaluating effects on the crew of prolonged exposure to the space environment. Secondary objectives included demonstrating extravehicular activity (EVA) in space, conducting stationkeeping and rendezvous maneuvers with the second stage of the launch vehicle, performing significant in-plane and out-of-plane maneuvers, demonstrating the ability of the orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS) to back up the retrorockets, and executing 11 experiments. The stationkeeping exercise was terminated at the end of the first revolution because most of the OAMS propellant allocated for the exercise had been used; further efforts would jeopardize primary mission objectives and could mean the cancellation of several secondary objectives. No rendezvous was attempted. The only other major problem to mar the mission was the inadvertent alteration of the computer memory during the 48th revolution in an attempt to correct an apparent malfunction. This made the planned computer-controlled reentry impossible and required an open-loop ballistic reentry. All other mission objectives were met. The flight crew began preparing for EVA immediately after terminating the stationkeeping exercise. Although preparations went smoothly, McDivitt decided to delay EVA for one revolution, both because of the high level of activity required and because deletion of the rendezvous attempt reduced the tightness of the schedule. Ground control approved the decision. The spacecraft hatch was opened at 4 hours 18 minutes into the flight and White exited 12 minutes later, using a hand-held maneuvering gun. White reentered the spacecraft 20 minutes after leaving it. The hatch was closed at 4 hours 54 minutes ground elapsed time. Drifting flight was maintained for the next two and one-half days to conserve propellant. The spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean about 725 km east of Cape Kennedy - some 65 km from its nominal landing point. The crew boarded a helicopter 34 minutes after landing and was transported to the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. Spacecraft recovery was completed at 2:28 p.m., a little more than 100 hours after Gemini 4 had been launched. Gemini 4 was the first mission to be controlled from the mission control center in Houston.
The space walk was hurriedly included after the Russian first in Voskhod 2. White seemed to have a lot more fun than Leonov and McDivitt took the pictures that came to symbolize man in space. With this flight the US finally started to match Russian flight durations. Additional Details: Gemini 4.
The vehicle was inspected and umbilicals connected June 9. Power was applied June 10. Subsystems Reverification Tests (SSRT) began June 14. SSRT was a simplified test program which replaced Subsystems Functional Verification Test (SSFVT). SSFVT, performed on the first four GLVs, repeated tests that had already been performed at Martin-Baltimore. SSRT simplified subsystems checkout by requiring only that the factory findings be reverified, rather than duplicated, for GLV-5 and all later launch vehicles. SSRT was completed June 28. The launch vehicle Combined Systems Test to verify its readiness for mating was run June 29.
The vehicle acceptance team convened July 6 to review GLV-6 and accepted it July 10. The vehicle was demated on July 19 and formally accepted by the Air Force July 31. Stage II was delivered to Cape Kennedy the same day, and stage I on August 2. Both stages were then placed in storage pending the launch of Gemini-Titan 5.
Stage II was erected June 28. GLV-7 was inspected and prepared for testing while GLV-6 was undergoing vertical tests in the west cell. Power was applied to GLV-7 for the first time July 26. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed August 25. Systems modification and retesting followed.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test began immediately and was completed July 9. The spacecraft/GLV Joint Combined Systems Test followed on July 12. The Flight Configuration Mode Test completed systems testing on July 16.
A Simultaneous Launch Demonstration (SLD) was conducted between the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle on complex 14 and Gemini-Titan (GT) 5 on complex 19, in conjunction with the Wet Mock Simulated Launch (WMSL) of GT-5. The Gemini launch vehicle tanking exercise, normally a part of WMSL, was conducted separately for convenience on July 17. SLD was a dress rehearsal to demonstrate the coordination required to conduct a single countdown on two vehicles and was subsequently performed on all rendezvous missions. The mission control centers at Houston and the Cape, as well as Eastern Test Range support facilities, were integral parts of the combined countdown. A failure in the Houston computer system caused several spurious commands to be transmitted to the target vehicle. Although some of these commands were accepted, results were not serious because they were mostly stored program command loads. Following SLD, the Atlas and Agena were demated on July 26.
Spacecraft and launch vehicle were remated August 5. Modified Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and the Joint Guidance and Control Tests were run on August 6. Spacecraft Final Systems Test on August 9-10 and the Simulated Flight Test on August 13 completed prelaunch testing of GT-5, scheduled for launch August 19.
During a news conference, Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, Deputy Manager of the Gemini Project Office at MSC, affirmed that, although no firm decisions had yet been made, the concept of a circumlunar flight using a Gemini spacecraft was being seriously studied. The mission would use Titan II and III-C launch vehicles and would require rendezvousing in earth orbit. NASA, Martin-Marietta Corporation (builder of the Titan), and Aerojet-General Corporation (which manufactured upper stages for the III-C) all were studying the feasibility of such a flight. Later in the year, NASA Administrator James E. Webb eliminated the possibility of a Gemini circumlunar mission, ". . . our main reliance for operating at lunar distances . . . is the large Saturn V/Apollo system."
These were the first GLV tanks to be carried by rail from Denver to Baltimore. All previous tanks had traveled by air, but shortage of suitable aircraft made the change necessary. The tanks were shipped August 9. Aerojet-General delivered the stage I engine for GLV-9 August 20 and the stage II engine September 22. Tank splicing was completed October 21, engine installation November 10. Horizontal testing concluded November 23.
While the problem was being investigated, thunderstorms approached the Cape Kennedy area. With the computer problem unresolved and the weather deteriorating rapidly, the mission was scrubbed and rescheduled for August 21. Recycling began with unloading propellants.
Major objectives of the eight-day mission were evaluating the performance of the rendezvous guidance and navigation system, using a rendezvous evaluation pod (REP), and evaluating the effects of prolonged exposure to the space environment on the flight crew. Secondary objectives included demonstrating controlled reentry guidance, evaluating fuel cell performance, demonstrating all phases of guidance and control system operation needed for a rendezvous mission, evaluating the capability of either pilot to maneuver the spacecraft in orbit to rendezvous, evaluating the performance of rendezvous radar, and executing 17 experiments. The mission proceeded without incident through the first two orbits and the ejection of the REP. About 36 minutes after beginning evaluation of the rendezvous guidance and navigation system, the crew noted that the pressure in the oxygen supply tank of the fuel cell system was falling. Pressure dropped from 850 pounds per square inch absolute (psia) at 26 minutes into the flight until it stabilized at 70 psia at 4 hours 22 minutes, and gradually increased through the remainder of the mission. The spacecraft was powered down and the REP exercise was abandoned. By the seventh revolution, experts on the ground had analyzed the problem and a powering-up procedure was started. During the remainder of the mission the flight plan was continuously scheduled in real time. Four rendezvous radar tests were conducted during the mission, the first in revolution 14 on the second day; the spacecraft rendezvous radar successfully tracked a transponder on the ground at Cape Kennedy. During the third day, a simulated Agena rendezvous was conducted at full electrical load. The simulation comprised four maneuvers - apogee adjust, phase adjust, plane change, and coelliptical maneuver - using the orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS). Main activities through the fourth day of the mission concerned operations and experiments. During the fifth day, OAMS operation became sluggish and thruster No. 7 inoperative. Thruster No. 8 went out the next day, and the rest of the system was gradually becoming more erratic. Limited experimental and operational activities continued through the remainder of the mission. Retrofire was initiated in the 121st revolution during the eighth day of the mission, one revolution early because of threatening weather in the planned recovery area. Reentry and landing were satisfactory, but the landing point was 145 km short, the result of incorrect navigation coordinates transmitted to the spacecraft computer from the ground network. Landing occurred August 29, 190 hours 55 minutes after the mission had begun. The astronauts arrived on board the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain, at 9:25. The spacecraft was recovered at 11:51 a.m.
With this flight, the US finally took the manned spaceflight endurance record from Russia, while demonstrating that the crew could survive in zero gravity for the length of time required for a lunar mission. However the mission was incredibly boring, the spacecraft just drifting to conserve fuel most of the time, and was 'just about the hardest thing I've ever done' according to a hyperactive Pete Conrad. An accident with freeze dried shrimp resulted in the cabin being filled with little pink subsatellites. Additional Details: Gemini 5.
Radar Evaluation Pod.
Stage II was erected the following day. Umbilicals were connected and inspected September 1, and Subsystems Reverification Tests began September 2. These tests were completed September 15. The Prespacecraft Mate Verification Test of GLV-6 was run September 16.
During the rail trip, leaking battery acid corroded the dome of the stage II fuel tank. The tanks arrived at Martin-Baltimore September 21. The stage II fuel tank was rejected and returned to Denver. It was replaced by the stage II fuel tank from GLV-11, which completed final assembly September 25 and arrived in Baltimore November 3 after being inspected and certified. Fabrication of GLV-10 tanks had begun in April.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test was completed September 21. The spacecraft/GLV Joint Combined Systems Test was run September 23. GLV tanking test was performed September 29 and the Flight Configuration Mode Test October 1, completing systems testing for Gemini-Titan 6.
Inspection of GLV-7 by the vehicle acceptance team began September 27 and ended October 1, with the vehicle found acceptable. GLV-7 was deerected October 5 and formally accepted by the Air Force October 15. Stage I was airlifted to Cape Kennedy October 16, followed by stage II October 18. Both stages were placed in storage pending the launch of the Gemini VI mission.
Power was applied to the vehicle October 13, following the deerection of GLV-7. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests of GLV-8 were completed November 4.
Following WMSL, the spacecraft and launch vehicle were demated to allow the spacecraft battery to be replaced. They were remated October 8-13. Spacecraft Systems Test was completed October 15. Prelaunch testing concluded October 20 with the Simulated Flight Test.
GLV-6 stage I was deerected the next day. The GLV was placed in storage at the Satellite Checkout Building under guard, in an environment controlled for temperature and humidity. Bonded storage maintained the integrity of previously conducted tests to reduce testing that would have to be repeated. Spacecraft No. 6 was stored in the Pyrotechnics Installation Building at the Merritt Island Launch Area.
Power was applied to GLV-7 on October 31, and Subsystems Reverification Tests (SSRT) began immediately. SSRT ended November 9, and the Prespacecraft Mate Verification Test was performed November 10. This test now included dropping all umbilicals, eliminating the need for a Flight Configuration Mode Test (FCMT). No FCMT was performed on GLV-7 or any subsequent vehicle.
They were shipped by rail October 27. The GLV-11 stage II fuel tank was used in GLV-10, and the stage II fuel tank from GLV-12 was reassigned to GLV-11, arriving by air from Martin-Denver January 16, 1966. Aerojet-General delivered the engines for GLV-11 on December 14, 1965. Stage I tank splicing and engine installation was complete by March 31, stage II by April 5. Stage I horizontal tests ended April 12 and stage II, April 25.
The vehicle acceptance team convened November 16 and completed its inspection November 19, deeming the vehicle excellent. GLV-8 was deerected December 13-14 and was formally accepted by the Air Force on December 23. Stage I was airlifted to Cape Kennedy on January 4, 1966, followed by stage II on January 6. Both stages were placed in storage.
An electrical interface jumper cable connected the spacecraft, suspended about six feet above stage II, to the GLV. No Wet Mock Simulated Launch (WMSL) was performed on Gemini VII or any subsequent vehicle. WMSL was replaced by the Simultaneous Launch Demonstration (SLD) and a separate tanking test. For Gemini VII, the SLD was also eliminated because no simultaneous Atlas-Agena launch was planned. The elimination of the erector lowering associated with WMSL made it possible to postpone mechanical mating until later in the test sequence. This had the advantage of allowing access to the spacecraft adapter without demating and remating the spacecraft and launch vehicle, while at the same time permitting integrated testing to continue and shortening the test schedule. The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test was completed November 13. The Joint Combined Systems Test was run November 15. The only countdown exercise performed for Gemini VII was the GLV tanking test on November 16. The spacecraft Final Systems Test was completed November 20. Spacecraft and launch vehicle were mechanically mated November 22, and the Simulated Flight Test was finished November 27.
The stage I engine had been delivered August 23. Martin-Baltimore completed splicing stage I January 12, 1966; stage II splicing, using the fuel tank reassigned from GLV-11, was finished February 2. Engine installation was completed February 7, and stage I horizontal tests February 11. Stage II horizontal testing ended March 2.
Spacecraft No. 6 was returned to complex 19 on December 5. Within 24 hours after the launch of Gemini VII, both stages of GLV-6 were erected, spacecraft and launch vehicle were mated, and power was applied. Subsystems Reverification Tests were completed December 8. The only major problem was a malfunction of the spacecraft computer memory. The computer was replaced and checked out December 7-8. The Simulated Flight Test, December 8-9, completed prelaunch tests. The launch, initially scheduled for December 13, was rescheduled for December 12.
Primary objectives of the mission were demonstrating manned orbital flight for approximately 14 days and evaluating the physiological effects of a long-duration flight on the crew. Among the secondary objectives were providing a rendezvous target for the Gemini VI-A spacecraft, stationkeeping with the second stage of the launch vehicle and with spacecraft No. 6, conducting 20 experiments, using lightweight pressure suits, and evaluating the spacecraft reentry guidance capability. All objectives were successfully achieved with the exception of two experiments lost because of equipment failure. Shortly after separation from the launch vehicle, the crew maneuvered the spacecraft to within 60 feet of the second stage and stationkept for about 15 minutes. The exercise was terminated by a separation maneuver, and the spacecraft was powered down in preparation for the 14-day mission. The crew performed five maneuvers during the course of the mission to increase orbital lifetime and place the spacecraft in proper orbit for rendezvous with spacecraft No. 6. Rendezvous was successfully accomplished during the 11th day in orbit, with spacecraft No. 7 serving as a passive target for spacecraft No. 6. About 45 hours into the mission, Lovell removed his pressure suit. He again donned his suit at 148 hours, while Borman removed his. Some 20 hours later Lovell again removed his suit, and both crewmen flew the remainder of the mission without suits, except for the rendezvous and reentry phases. With three exceptions, the spacecraft and its systems performed nominally throughout the entire mission. The delayed-time telemetry playback tape recorder malfunctioned about 201hours after liftoff, resulting in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission. Two fuel cell stacks showed excessive degradation late in the flight and were taken off the line; the remaining four stacks furnished adequate electrical power until reentry. Two attitude thrusters performed poorly after 283 hours in the mission. Retrofire occurred exactly on time, and reentry and landing were nominal. The spacecraft missed the planned landing point by only 10.3 km miles, touching down on December 18. The crew arrived at the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp, half an hour later. The spacecraft was recovered half an hour after the crew.
Far surpassing the Gemini 5 flight, Gemini 7 set a manned spaceflight endurance record that would endure for years. The incredibly boring mission, was made more uncomfortable by the extensive biosensors. This was somewhat offset by the soft spacesuits (used only once) and permission to spend most of the time in long johns. The monotony was broken just near the end by the rendezvous with Gemini 6. Additional Details: Gemini 7.
Power was applied to the launch vehicle for the first time on December 22, and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed January 20, 1966.
The scheduled launch of Gemini VI-A was aborted when the Master Operations Control Set automatically shut down the Gemini launch vehicle a second after engine ignition because an electrical umbilical connector separated prematurely. The launch was canceled at 9:54 a.m., e.s.t. Emergency procedures delayed raising the erector until 11:28, so the crew was not removed until 11:33 a.m. Launch was rescheduled for December 15. Routine analysis of the engine data, begun immediately after shutdown, revealed decaying thrust in one first stage engine subassembly before shutdown had been commanded. The problem was diagnosed as a restriction in the gas generator circuit of the subassembly, which would have caused shutdown about 1 second later than it actually occurred as a result of the umbilical disconnect. Source of the restriction proved to be a protective dust cap inadvertently left in place in the gas generator oxidizer injector inlet port. The anomalies were corrected and recycling, based on long-prepared contingency plans, proceeded without incident through launch on December 15.
The primary objective of the mission, crewed by command pilot Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and pilot Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, was to rendezvous with spacecraft No. 7. Among the secondary objectives were stationkeeping with spacecraft No. 7, evaluating spacecraft reentry guidance capability, testing the visibility of spacecraft No. 7 as a rendezvous target, and conducting three experiments. After the launch vehicle inserted the spacecraft into an 87 by 140 nautical mile orbit, the crew prepared for the maneuvers necessary to achieve rendezvous. Four maneuvers preceded the first radar contact between the two spacecraft. The first maneuver, a height adjustment, came an hour and a half after insertion, at first perigee; a phase adjustment at second apogee, a plane change, and another height adjustment at second perigee followed. The onboard radar was turned on 3 hours into the mission. The first radar lock-on indicated 246 miles between the two spacecraft. The coelliptic maneuver was performed at third apogee, 3 hours 47 minutes after launch. The terminal phase initiation maneuver was performed an hour and a half later. Two midcourse corrections preceded final braking maneuvers at 5 hours 50 minutes into the flight. Rendezvous was technically accomplished and stationkeeping began some 6 minutes later when the two spacecraft were about 120 feet apart and their relative motion had stopped. Stationkeeping maneuvers continued for three and a half orbits at distances from 1 to 300 feet. Spacecraft No. 6 then initiated a separation maneuver and withdrew to a range of about 30 miles. The only major malfunction in spacecraft No. 6 during the mission was the failure of the delayed-time telemetry tape recorder at 20 hours 55 minutes ground elapsed time, which resulted in the loss of all delayed-time telemetry data for the remainder of the mission, some 4 hours and 20 minutes. The flight ended with a nominal reentry and landing in the West Atlantic, just 10 km from the planned landing point, on December 16. The crew remained in the spacecraft, which was recovered an hour later by the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp.
Gemini 6 was to have been the first flight involving docking with an Agena target/propulsion stage. However the Agena blew up on the way to orbit, and the spacecraft was replaced by Gemini 7 in the launch order.
For lack of a target, NASA decided to have Gemini 6 rendezvous with Gemini 7. This would require a quick one week turnaround of the pad after launch, no problem with Russian equipment but a big accomplishment for the Americans. The first launch attempt was aborted; the Titan II ignited for a moment, then shut down and settled back down on its launch attachments. Schirra waited it out, did not pull the abort handles that would send the man catapulting out of the capsule on their notoriously unreliable ejection seats. The booster was safed; Schirra had saved the mission and the launch three days later went perfectly. The flight went on to achieve the first manned space rendezvous controlled entirely by the self-contained, on-board guidance, control, and navigation system. This system provided the crew of Gemini 6 with attitude, thrusting, and time information needed for them to control the spacecraft during the rendezvous. Under Schirra's typically precise command, the operation was so successful that the rendezvous was complete with fuel consumption only 5% above the planned value to reach 16 m separation from Gemini 7. Additional Details: Gemini 6.
After the vehicle was inspected and umbilicals connected, power was applied January 19. Subsystems Reverification Tests began the following day and lasted until January 31. The Prespacecraft Mate Verification of GLV-8 was run February 1. A launch test-procedure review was held February 2-3. During leak checks of the stage II engine on February 7, small cracks were found in the thrust chamber manifold. X-rays revealed the cracks to be confined to the weld; rewelding eliminated the problem. Systems rework and validation were completed February 9.
The GLV-12 stage II fuel tank had been reallocated to GLV-11, and GLV-12 used the stage II fuel tank originally assigned to GLV-10, which had been reworked to eliminate the damaged dome that had caused the tank reshuffling. The reworked tank arrived March 12. Aerojet-General had delivered the stage I engine on December 13, 1965, the stage II engine on January 20. Stage I tank splicing was completed April 25, stage II on May 4. Engine installations were completed May 19. Stage I horizontal testing ended June 1, and stage II, June 22.
The vehicle acceptance team convened February 14 and concluded its review on February 17 by accepting the vehicle. Deerection of GLV-9 was completed February 25, and the vehicle was formally accepted by the Air Force March 8. Stage I arrived at Cape Kennedy on March 9, stage II on March 10.
After data from this test were reviewed (February 15), the Joint Combined Systems Test was run February 16.
While the launch vehicle was being cleaned up after the test, spacecraft No. 8 Final Systems Test was completed February 23. On February 25, GLV and spacecraft were temporarily mated for an erector-cycling test. The extravehicular support package and life support system were checked out and installed in the spacecraft between February 26 and March 5, while GLV systems were modified and revalidated February 28 to March 3.
After completing horizontal testing March 3, stage II was erected March 7. Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on March 14. Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed April 13.
The Simultaneous Launch Demonstration with the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle on complex 14 was completed March 9. The Final Simulated Flight Test concluded prelaunch tests on March 10.
The Atlas-Agena target vehicle for the Gemini VIII mission was successfully launched from KSC Launch Complex 14 at 10 a.m. EST March 16. The Gemini VIII spacecraft followed from Launch Complex 19 at 11:41 a.m., with command pilot Neil A. Armstrong and pilot David R. Scott aboard. The spacecraft and its target vehicle rendezvoused and docked, with docking confirmed 6 hours 33 minutes after the spacecraft was launched. This first successful docking with an Agena target vehicle was followed by a major space emergency. About 27 minutes later the spacecraft-Agena combination encountered unexpected roll and yaw motion. A stuck thruster on Gemini put the docked assembly into a wild high speed gyration. Near structural limits and blackout, Armstrong undocked, figuring the problem was in the Agena, which only made it worse. The problem arose again and when the yaw and roll rates became too high the crew shut the main Gemini reaction control system down and activated and used both rings of the reentry control system to reduce the spacecraft rates to zero. This used 75% of that system's fuel. Although the crew wanted to press on with the mission and Scott's planned space walk, ground control ordered an emergency splashdown in the western Pacific during the seventh revolution. The spacecraft landed at 10:23 p.m. EST March 16 and Armstrong and Scott were picked up by the destroyer U.S.S. Mason at 1:37 a.m. EST March 17. Although the flight was cut short by the incident, one of the primary objectives - rendezvous and docking (the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbital flight) - was accomplished.
Primary objectives of the scheduled three-day mission were to rendezvous and dock with the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) and to conduct extravehicular activities. Secondary objectives included rendezvous and docking during the fourth revolution, performing docked maneuvers using the GATV primary propulsion system, executing 10 experiments, conducting docking practice, performing a rerendezvous, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, demonstrating controlled reentry, and parking the GATV in a 220-nautical mile circular orbit. The GATV was inserted into a nominal 161-nautical mile circular orbit, the spacecraft into a nominal 86 by 147-nautical mile elliptical orbit. During the six hours following insertion, the spacecraft completed nine maneuvers to rendezvous with the GATV. Rendezvous phase ended at 5 hours 58 minutes ground elapsed time, with the spacecraft 150 feet from the GATV and no relative motion between the two vehicles. Stationkeeping maneuvers preceded docking, which was accomplished at 6 hours 33 minutes ground elapsed time. A major problem developed 27 minutes after docking, when a spacecraft orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS) thruster malfunctioned. The crew undocked from the GATV and managed to bring the spacecraft under control by deactivating the OAMS and using the reentry control system (RCS) to reduce the spacecraft's rapid rotation. Premature use of the RCS, however, required the mission to be terminated early. The retrofire sequence was initiated in the seventh revolution, followed by nominal reentry and landing in a secondary recovery area in the western Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft touched down less than 10 km from the planned landing point. The recovery ship, the destroyer Leonard Mason, picked up both crew and spacecraft some three hours later. Early termination of the mission precluded achieving all mission objectives, but one primary objective - rendezvous and docking - was accomplished. Several secondary objectives were also achieved: rendezvous and docking during the fourth revolution, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, demonstrating controlled reentry, and parking the GATV. Two experiments were partially performed. Additional Details: Gemini 8.
The vehicle was inspected and umbilicals connected by March 28. Power was applied March 29, and the Subsystems Reverification Test (SSRT) began March 30. SSRT concluded April 11. The Prespacecraft Mate Verification Combined Systems Test was completed April 12.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test began after Gemini launch vehicle 9 and spacecraft No. 9 were electrically mated. These activities were completed April 15. The Joint Combined Systems Test was run April 19.
The CSAT was followed by a performance data review, completed April 19. The vehicle acceptance team convened April 26 and accepted GLV-10 on April 29. The vehicle was deerected May 2-4 and formally accepted by the Air Force May 18. Stage I was flown to Cape Kennedy the same day, with stage II following May 20. Both stages were transferred to Hanger L where they were purged and pressurized with dry nitrogen and placed in controlled access storage.
After completing horizontal tests April 25, stage II was erected April 29. Power was applied to the vehicle for the first time on May 9, and Subsystems Functional Verification Tests were completed June 8.
While the GLV was undergoing post-tanking cleanup, the spacecraft computer and extravehicular systems were retested (April 21-22), pyrotechnics were installed in the spacecraft (April 25), spacecraft final systems tests were run (April 27-28), spacecraft crew stowage was reviewed (April 29), and the astronaut maneuvering unit was reverified (April 30-May 2). On May 3 the spacecraft and launch vehicle were temporarily mated for an erector-cycling test. GLV systems were then revalidated in preparation for Simultaneous Launch Demonstration (SLD), while spacecraft extravehicular equipment was reworked and revalidated. Spacecraft and GLV were mated for flight May 8. The SLD was conducted May 10, the Final Simulated Flight Test on May 11.
At the first launch attempt, while the crew waited buttoned up in the spacecraft on the pad, their Agena docking target field blew up on the way to orbit. NASA decided to use an Atlas to launch an Agena docking collar only. This was called the Augmented Target Docking Adapter. Ths was successfully launched and the Gemini succeeded in rendezvousing with it. However, the ATDA shroud had not completely separated, thus making docking impossible. However three different types of rendezvous were tested with the ATDA. Cernan began his EVA, which was to include flight with a USAF MMU rocket pack but the Gemini suit could not handle heat load of the astronaut's exertions. Cernan's faceplate fogs up, forcing him to blindly grope back into the Gemini hatch after only two hours.
Seventh manned and third rendezvous mission of the Gemini program. Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock with the augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) and to conduct extravehicular activities (EVA). These objectives were only partially met. After successfully achieving rendezvous during the third revolution - a secondary objective - the crew discovered that the ATDA shroud had failed to separate, precluding docking - a primary objective - as well as docking practice - another secondary objective. The crew was able, however, to achieve other secondary objectives: an equi-period rendezvous, using onboard optical techniques and completed at 6 hours 36 minutes ground elapsed time; and a rendezvous from above, simulating the rendezvous of an Apollo command module with a lunar module in a lower orbit (completed at 21 hours 42 minutes ground elapsed time). Final separation maneuver was performed at 22 hours 59 minutes after liftoff. EVA was postponed because of crew fatigue, and the second day was given over to experiments. The hatch was opened for EVA at 49 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time. EVA was successful, but one secondary objective - evaluation of the astronaut maneuvering unit (AMU) - was not achieved because Cernan's visor began fogging. The extravehicular life support system apparently became overloaded with moisture when Cernan had to work harder than anticipated to prepare the AMU for donning. Cernan reentered the spacecraft, and the hatch was closed at 51 hours 28 minutes into the flight. The rest of the third day was spent on experiments. Following the third sleep period, the crew prepared for retrofire, which was initiated during the 45th revolution. The spacecraft landed within a mile of the primary recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The crew remained with the spacecraft, which was hoisted aboard 53 minutes after landing. Additional Details: Gemini 9.
Umbilicals were connected and power applied June 9. Subsystems Reverification Tests (SSRT) began immediately. SSRT ended June 16, and the Prespacecraft Mate Verification Combined Systems Test was conducted June 17.
The vehicle acceptance team convened June 20 and accepted GLV-11 June 24. The vehicle was deerected June 29 and formally accepted by the Air Force on July 11. Stage I was delivered by air to Cape Kennedy the same day and stage II on July 13. Both stages were transferred to Hanger U where the tanks were purged and pressurized. The stages remained in controlled access storage until the launch pad was revalidated after the launch of Gemini X; revalidation was completed July 21.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test was conducted June 20-21. Following a data review, the Joint Combined Systems Test was run June 23.
During the post-tanking cleanup and systems testing of the GLV, spacecraft No. 10 hypergolics were serviced (June 27-28), spacecraft Final Systems Tests were conducted (June 28-July 1), crew stowage was evaluated, and the extravehicular life support system was checked (July 1). On July 5, spacecraft and GLV were mechanically mated and the erector was cycled. The electrical interface was retested July 6. The Simultaneous Launch Demonstration on July 12 and Simulated Flight Test on July 13 completed prelaunch testing.
Exciting mission with successful docking with Agena, flight up to parking orbit where Gemini 8 Agena is stored. Collins space walks from Gemini to Agena to retrieve micrometeorite package left in space all those months. Loses grip first time, and tumbles head over heels at end of umbilical around Gemini. Package retrieved on second try.
The Gemini X mission began with the launch of the Gemini Atlas-Agena target vehicle from complex 14. The Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) attained a near-circular, 162- by 157-nautical-mile orbit. Spacecraft No. 10 was inserted into a 145- by 86-nautical-mile elliptical orbit. Slant range between the two vehicles was very close to the nominal 1000 miles. Major objective of the mission was achieved during the fourth revolution when the spacecraft rendezvoused with the GATV at 5 hours 23 minutes ground elapsed time and docked with it about 30 minutes later. More spacecraft propellant was used to achieve rendezvous than had been predicted, imposing constraints on the remainder of the mission and requiring the development of an alternate flight plan. As a result, several experiments were not completed, and another secondary objective - docking practice - was not attempted. To conserve fuel and permit remaining objectives to be met, the spacecraft remained docked with the GATV for about 39 hours. During this period, a bending mode test was conducted to determine the dynamics of the docked vehicles, standup extravehicular activties (EVA) were conducted, and several experiments were performed. The GATV primary and secondary propulsion systems were used for six maneuvers to put the docked spacecraft into position for rendezvous with the Gemini VIII GATV as a passive target. The spacecraft undocked at 44 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, separated from the GATV, and used its own thrusters to complete the second rendezvous some three hours later. At 48 hours and 42 minutes into the flight, a 39-minute period of umbilical EVA began, which included the retrieval of a micrometorite collection package from the Gemini VIII Agena. The hatch was opened a third time about an hour later to jettison extraneous equipment before reentry. After about three hours of stationkeeping, the spacecraft separated from the GATV. At 51 hours 39 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew performed a true anomaly-adjust maneuver to minimize reentry dispersions resulting from the retrofire maneuver. The retrofire maneuver was initiated at 70 hours 10 minutes after liftoff, during the 43rd revolution. The spacecraft landed within sight of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Guadalcanal, some 5 km from the planned landing point on July 21. Additional Details: Gemini 10.
After the vehicle was inspected and umbilicals connected, power was applied July 27, and Subsystems Reverification Tests (SSRT) began. SSRT ended August 4, and the Prespacecraft Mate Verification Combined Systems Test was run the following day.
The vehicle acceptance team convened August 9 and accepted the vehicle August 12. GLV-12 was deerected August 17 and formally accepted by the Air Force August 30. Stage I was airlifted to Cape Kennedy the same day. Stage II arrived September 3. Both stages were placed in controlled access storage in Hanger T pending the launch of Gemini XI and the revalidation of the launch pad, completed September 16.
Elecrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test was conducted August 8-9. The Joint Combined Systems Test followed August 11-12.
While GLV post-tanking operations were being performed, the Final Systems Tests of spacecraft No. 11 were conducted August 22-23. Spacecraft and GLV were mechanically mated August 24 and erector cycling was tested. The electrical interface was revalidated August 25-29. The Simultaneous Launch Demonstration on August 31 and the Simulated Flight Test on September 1 completed prelaunch testing.
More highjinks with Conrad. First orbit docking with Agena, followed by boost up to record 800 km orbit, providing first manned views of earth as sphere. Tether attached by Gordon to Agena in spacewalk and after a lot of effort tethered spacecraft put into slow rotation, creating first artificial microgravity.
The primary objective of the Gemini XI mission was to rendezvous with the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) during the first revolution and dock. Five maneuvers completed the spacecraft/GATV rendezvous at 1 hour 25 minutes ground elapsed time, and the two vehicles docked nine minutes later. Secondary objectives included docking practice, extravehicular activity (EVA), 11 experiments, docked maneuvers, a tethered vehicle test, demonstrating automatic reentry, and parking the GATV. All objectives were achieved except one experiment - evaluation of the minimum reaction power tool - which was not performed because umbilical EVA was terminated prematurely. Umbilical EVA began at 24 hours 2 minutes ground elapsed time and ended 33 minutes later. Gordon became fatigued while attaching the tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. An hour later the hatch was opened to jettison equipment no longer required. At 40 hours 30 minutes after liftoff, the GATV primary propulsion system (PPS) was fired to raise the apogee of the docked vehicles to 741 nautical miles for two revolutions. The PPS was fired again, 3 hours 23 minutes later, to reduce apogee to 164 nautical miles. The crew then prepared for standup EVA, which began at 47 hours 7 minutes into the flight and lasted 2 hours 8 minutes. The spacecraft was then undocked to begin the tether evaluation. At 50 hours 13 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew initiated rotation. Initial oscillations damped out and the combination became very stable after about 20 minutes; the rotational rate was then increased. Again, initial oscillations gradually damped out and the combination stabilized. At about 53 hours into the mission, the crew released the tether, separated from the GATV, and maneuvered the spacecraft to an identical orbit with the target vehicle. A fuel cell stack failed at 54 hours 31 minutes, but the remaining five stacks shared the load and operated satisfactorily. A rerendezvous was accomplished at 66 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, and the crew then prepared for reentry. The spacecraft landed less than 5 km from the planned landing point at 71 hours 17 minutes after liftoff. The crew was retrieved by helicopter, and the spacecraft was brought aboard the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Guam, about an hour after landing. Additional Details: Gemini 11.
Umbilicals were connected after GLV inspection September 21. Power was applied the next day and Subsystems Reverification Tests (SSRT) began September 23. SSRT ended October 2 and Prespacecraft Mate Verification Combined Systems Test was run October 4.
The Electrical Interface Integrated Validation and Joint Guidance and Control Test was conducted October 5-6, and data was reviewed the following day. The Joint Combined Systems Test was run on October 10.
While the GLV was being cleaned up after the tanking test, the Final Systems Test of spacecraft No. 12 was conducted October 17-19. Spacecraft and GLV were mechanically mated October 25 and the erector was cycled. The spacecraft guidance system was retested October 26-27, and the spacecraft/GLV electrical interface was revalidated October 28. The Simultaneous Launch Demonstration on November 1 and the Simulated Flight Test on November 2 completed prelaunch testing and checkout.
Two very serious astronauts get it all right to end the program. Docked and redocked with Agena, demonstrating various Apollo scenarios including manual rendezvous and docking without assistance from ground control. Aldrin finally demonstrates ability to accomplish EVA without overloading suit by use of suitable restraints and careful movement.
Major objectives of the mission were to rendezvous and dock and to evaluate extravehicular activities (EVA). Among the secondary objectives were tethered vehicle evaluation, experiments, third revolution rendezvous and docking, automatic reentry demonstration, docked maneuvering for a high-apogee excursion, docking practice, systems tests, and Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) parking. The high-apogee excursion was not attempted because an anomaly was noted in the GATV primary propulsion system during insertion, and parking was not attempted because the GATV's attitude control gas was depleted. All other objectives were achieved. Nine spacecraft maneuvers effected rendezvous with the GATV. The onboard radar malfunctioned before the terminal phase initiate maneuver, but the crew used onboard backup procedures to calculate the maneuvers. Rendezvous was achieved at 3 hours 46 minutes ground elapsed time, docking 28 minutes later. Two phasing maneuvers, using the GATV secondary propulsion system, were accomplished, but the primary propulsion system was not used. The first of two periods of standup EVA began at 19 hours 29 minutes into the flight and lasted for 2 hours 29 minutes. During a more than two-hour umbilical EVA which began at 42 hours 48 minutes, Aldrin attached a 100-foot tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. He spent part of the period at the spacecraft adapter, evaluating various restraint systems and performing various basic tasks. The second standup EVA lasted 55 minutes, ending at 67 hours 1 minute ground elapsed time. The tether evaluation began at 47 hours 23 minutes after liftoff, with the crew undocking from the GATV. The tether tended to remain slack, although the crew believed that the two vehicles did slowly attain gravity-gradient stabilization. The crew jettisoned the docking bar and released the tether at 51 hours 51 minutes. Several spacecraft systems suffered problems during the flight. Two fuel cell stacks failed and had to be shut down, while two others experienced significant loss of power. At 39 hours 30 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew reported that little or no thrust was available from two orbit attitude and maneuver thrusters. Retrofire occurred 94 hours after liftoff. Reentry was automatically controlled. The spacecraft landed less than 5 km from the planned landing point on November 15. The crew was picked up by helicopter and deposited 28 minutes later on the deck of the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Wasp. The spacecraft was recovered 67 minutes after landing. Additional Details: Gemini 12.
Last launch of a Titan II ICBM (first West Coast launch on 16 February 1963).
An Air Force repairman doing routine maintenance in a Titan II ICBM silo dropped a wrench socket, which rolled off a work platform and fell to the bottom of the silo. The socket struck the missile, causing a leak from a pressurized fuel tank. The missile complex and surrounding areas were evacuated. Eight and a half hours later, the fuel vapors ignited, causing an explosion which killed an Air Force specialist and injured 21 others. The explosion also blew off the 670-tonne reinforced concrete-and-steel silo door and catapulted the warhead 200 m into the air. The silo was later filled in with gravel.
New class of signals intelligence satellite; possibly some kind of imaging also done. On-board propulsion boosts spacecraft to 800 km operating orbit.
First Titan II standard launch vehicle (SLV), a refurbished and modified Titan II ICBM, launched from Vandenberg AFB.
Signals intelligence. Reentered from initial parking orbit of 200 km after failure of on-board boost motor.
Signals intelligence satellite; possibly some kind of imaging also done. On-board propulsion boosts spacecraft to 800 km operating orbit.
SDIO sensor technology demonstration; mapped lunar surface; planned asteroid flyby cancelled due to spacecraft failure. After two Earth flybys, lunar insertion was achieved on February 21. Lunar mapping took place over approximately two months, in two parts. The first part consisted of a 5 hour elliptical polar orbit with a perilune of about 400 km at 28 degrees S latitude. After one month of mapping the orbit was rotated to a perilune of 29 degrees N latitude, where it remained for one more month. This allowed global imaging as well as altimetry coverage from 60 degrees S to 60 degrees N. After leaving lunar orbit, a malfunction in one of the on-board computers on May 7 at 14:39 UTC (9:39 AM EST) caused a thruster to fire until it had used up all of its fuel, leaving the spacecraft spinning at about 80 RPM with no spin control. This made the planned continuation of the mission, a flyby of the near-Earth asteroid Geographos, impossible. The spacecraft remained in geocentric orbit and continued testing the spacecraft components until the end of mission. Additional Details: Clementine 1.
NOAA K carried a new microwave sensor in addition to the standard optical/near-infrared radiometers and imagers and the SARSAT search and rescue package. It was the first NOAA launch to use the Titan 23G launch vehicle, a refurbished ICBM. Titan 23G-12 placed NOAA K into a suborbital trajectory 6 minutes after launch. A Star 37XFP solid motor on the satellite fired at apogee to put NOAA K in orbit.
NASA's QuikScat carried the SeaWinds scatterometer for remote sensing of ocean winds. The Titan 2’s second stage shut down at 02:20 GMT and then coasted to apogee still attached to the QuikScat. The Titan second stage vernier thrusters ignited at apogee to raise perigee, leaving QuikScat in a 280 km x 813 km x 98.7 degree parking orbit. The QuikScat's own hydrazine propulsion system then fired to raise the perigee over a period of weeks.
First launch of the Block 5D-3 military weather satellite. Satellite F-15 was placed in an initial suborbital trajectory. The Star 37S kick motor on the satellite fired 13 minutes after launch for orbit insertion.
The NOAA polar orbit weather satellite, an Advanced Tiros N with a suite of imaging and sounding instruments. The two-stage Titan II launch vehicle, serial 23G-13, put NOAA-L into a suborbital -2500 x 800 km x 98.0 deg trajectory. The spacecraft's Thiokol Star 37XFP solid motor fired at apogee to circularize the sun-synchronous orbit at 800 km.