The Zond program was one of two lunar exploration programs conducted by the Soviet Union to investigate the Moon and its vicinity. The program began in 1964 and ended in 1979. The early Zond’s 1-3 were originally designed for planetary exploration, while the latter Zonds (4-8) were sent on circum lunar flights. Additionally, the latter Zond vehicles were of a totally different in design. They were in fact automated versions of the manned Soyuz spacecraft…
The Gemini Program was conceived after it became evident to NASA officials that an intermediate step was required between Project Mercury and the Apollo Program. The major objectives assigned to Gemini were:
1-To subject two men and supporting equipment to long duration flights — a requirement for projected later trips to the moon or deeper space.
2-To effect rendezvous and docking with other orbiting vehicles, and to maneuver the docked vehicles in space, using the propulsion system of the target vehicle for such maneuvers.
3-To perfect methods of reentry and landing the spacecraft at a pre-selected land-landing point.
4-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.
From the previous episode, we have Gemini VII waiting in orbit for Gemini VI-A to launch and rendezvous. Remember, Gemini VII could only remain in orbit for 14 days, the maximum duration of its flight. The goal was to launch Gemini VI-A on or before day 9 of Gemini VII’s mission.