50 Years ago: The End of Gemini

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Gemini 12    Nov. 11-15, 1966

 

Walking out to Pad 19, to the waiting Titan II, our Gemini 12 at its tip, we wear signs on the backs of our white nylon spacesuits:  THE… END.

 

A joke.  That’s all, folks.  One last flight, one last chance to work out the puzzle of EVA.  This time we fly with armed with the experience of underwater training for the spacewalk, floating in water mimicking floating in space, a means to choreograph every move and means of conserving effort.  New techniques and new aids to keep us in place, handrails and tethers and foot restraints.  Two hours we will spend outside the capsule, testing tools and techniques.  One last shot at getting it right.

 

At one time, if timing and plans had converged, we would not be alone up there.  While we made our way down the handrail to the adapter section of our docked Agena, there over our shoulder, they would have been hovering, station keeping at a safe distance.  At one time, it looked like the flight of the first Apollo with Grissom. White, and Chaffee, might be ready to fly in time for a joint mission with us.  Give them a wave, a salute, a call.  But their flight has slipped into 1967.

 

THE…END.  More than we can know.  One last flight of innocence.

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