In this week’s lab assignment, we are asked to research manned spaceflight and provide information on what that mission has given us. I selected the Gemini program which was the second U.S. manned space program. On May 25, 1961, just 3 weeks after the successful Mercury Program put the first American, astronaut Alan Shepard, into space, President John F. Kennedy announced to the world his goal of sending astronauts to the moon before the end of the decade. Later that year, NASA expanded their short term goals by creating another program that would follow the Mercury Program. The total cost of the program was approximately $1.28 billion. The program was named Gemini for the third constellation of the Zodiac and its twin stars, Castor and Pollux. Gemini involved 12 flights, including two unmanned flight tests of the equipment. The objectives of Gemini were: * to subject astronauts to long duration flights- a requirement for projected later trips to the moon or deeper space; * to develop effective methods of rendezvous and docking with other orbiting vehicles, and to maneuver the docked vehicles in space; * to perfect methods of reentry and landing the spacecraft at a pre-selected land-landing point; and * to gain additional information concerning the effects of weightlessness on crew members and to record the physiological reactions of crew members during long duration flights.
The spacecraft itself was a cone-shaped capsule comprised of two components; a reentry module and an adaptor module. The adaptor module made up the base of the spacecraft. There were also 2 hinged doors that opened outward.
NASA determined it would use a 2-man Mercury Mark II concept to develop the program further and also to achieve the goals necessary to complete landing on the moon. This concept became known as the Gemini Program and took about 30 months to complete the design of the capsule. The capsule had thrusters for the crew to use in the maneuvering of the...
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