Gemini 7

Gemini 7 (GT -7 ) was a manned space flight within the U.S. Gemini program.

The team

Shortly after the landing of Gemini 4, July 1, 1965, NASA announced that the backup crew of Gemini 4 spacecraft would take 7 Gemini. Commander should be Frank Borman, Jim Lovell was assigned as a pilot. For both it was the first space flight.

The backup crew consisted of Edward H. White, who had taken the first spacewalk by an American with Gemini 4 and Mike Collins. With Collins for the first time an astronaut the third choice group was nominated for a flight.

Speaker connection ( Capcom ) were Charles Bassett and Elliott See, who were provided as a crew for Gemini 9 the following year, Eugene Cernan from the Gemini 9 backup crew and the newcomer Alan Bean from the third astronaut group.

The preparation

Gemini 7 was to become a long-duration flight. Borman and Lovell should test the new space suit. For the first time it should be possible to store the suit during certain phases. The new suit was not designed for long hours in a vacuum. Should a leak occur in the space ship, the mission would be aborted and an emergency landing can be initiated.

The Gemini spacecraft was delivered on 9 October at Cape Kennedy, where preparations were for the launch of Gemini 6 in full swing. This launch was scheduled for October 25, but was then canceled because the target satellite GATV -6 could not be brought into orbit.

Three days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 would fulfill a dual mission: the first controlled rendezvous of manned spaceships.

After the rocket from Gemini 6 was reduced again, the Titan rocket for Gemini 7 was already erected on 29 October at the launch complex 19 and November 11, the spacecraft was mounted.

A 14-day flight put different demands on the spacecraft than previously, so had to eg enough storage space for waste to be found. Another change concerned the working hours. The astronauts of Gemini 4 and Gemini 5 had pointed out that it is practically impossible to take turns sleeping. Therefore, the working and sleeping rhythm for Gemini 7 was adapted to the Earth Day.

Due to the long duration flight, the astronauts were able to various scientific, especially medical conduct experiments.

History of the flight

Gemini 7 was launched on 4 December 1965. Shortly after the separation of the Titan rocket Borman turned the ship and led a rendezvous with the second rocket stage by, for it had nothing behind them. By fuel that emanated from a line level, however, was put into tumbling motions, so that the upper Borman approached only at 15 meters, so as not to jeopardize their own spaceship.

During the next few days was always one of the astronauts in the space suit, who worked and slept in long underwear others. This led but to the fact that one of the two always felt uncomfortable because the air conditioning could not be two coverings needs. For security demanded the flight line, that at no time both astronauts without space suit were. After several days, but the astronauts finally got permission to store both the space suit, except during the rendezvous with Gemini 6 -A and during the re-entry phase.

On December 15, Gemini 6 -A launched ( the mission was renamed from 6 in 6-A to highlight the change of mission objectives ). After a few hours the rendezvous was performed. The two ships approached each other at 30 cm. The Gemini spacecraft could be easily controlled.

The landing took place on December 18 after 330 hours, 35 minutes and 1 second flight. Borman and Lovell were taken by helicopter aboard the USS Wasp. This ship had two days earlier also recovered Gemini 6.

Importance for the Gemini Project

The flight of Gemini meant a new long-term record in manned space flight, which was to be broken only in 1970 by Soyuz 9. It turned out that the astronauts could stay longer in weightlessness without medical problems than was needed for a moon flight. The return to the earthly gravity was without lengthy familiarization.

From a technical perspective, the Gemini space ships were long-term fit. Her fine maneuverability they had demonstrated.

The double flight of Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 not only ended the year 1965, the flights also meant the half time in the Gemini program, which was previously run successfully without any major problems. They had performed a spacewalk and a rendezvous of manned spaceships. The new year should bring with Gemini 8 as another highlight of a coupling of two spacecraft in orbit. For the spacewalks there were still some work to do. The departure of Edward White was a short trip, and it had to be reviewed in any case, how astronauts could work for longer periods overboard.