For the first time Television coverage of the launch had an international audience, as the scene was broadcast to 12 European nations via Intelsat 1 aka the Early Bird satellite of episode 59. Heightened by the prospect of an EVA and the first use of the new Mission Control Center in Houston, interest in Gemini IV reached levels never again matched in the Gemini program…
The success of Gus Grissom and John Young’s Gemini 3 flight paved the way for long duration space missions. The longest U.S. manned space flight to date was Gordon Cooper’s 34 hour Mercury flight. The Soviets, however, had four long duration flights to their credit, ranging from 70 to 119 hours. It was time for the US to attempt a long duration flight.
Grissom – What is it?
Young: Corned beef sandwich.
Grissom: Where did it come from?
Young: I brought it with me. Let’s see how it tastes. Smells, doesn’t it.
Grissom: Yes, its breaking up. I’m going to stick it in my pocket.
Young: Is it? It was a thought, anyway.
Young: Not a very good one.
Grissom: Pretty good, thought, if it would just hold together.
Young: Want some chicken leg?
Grissom: No you can handle that.
The precise scope of the Gemini 3 mission remained uncertain until very nearly the eve of flight. In April of 1963, the GT-3 mission directive was “to demonstrate and evaluate the capabilities of the spacecraft and launch vehicle system, and the procedures necessary for the support of future long-duration and rendezvous missions.” But, that was a broad scope and did not clearly specified how GT-3 would accomplish it objective…
Leonov opened the airlocks outer hatch He was positioned on his “back” and this orientation revealed the beauty of earth in its entirety. His heart began to race as he pushed his upper body outside and saw the deep blue vista of the Mediterranean Sea, fringed by the easily recognizable shapes of Greece and Italy and, farther east, the Crimea, the Caucasus Mountains, and the Volga River…
Voskhod 2 was a high risk mission. It was the final space race victory for the Soviet Union before NASA claimed the lead and ultimately won with the lunar landing of 1969. Voskhod 2 was the peak of the Soviet Space Program. It nearly killed its two cosmonauts but it was ultimately a success…
The bright outlook that was prevalent in April turned dark in the late summer of 1964 when a series of natural disasters struck the Cape. First lightning, then hurricanes, damaged the Gemini 2 launch vehicle to delay its flight long past the scheduled time. Even if the weather had been perfect, McDonnell’s difficulties in getting Spacecraft 2 ready to fly might have compromised the schedule on its own…
One second after 11 o’clock Wednesday morning, April 8th 1964, the Titan II booster’s first-stage engine ignited. Four seconds later, the 156 ton vehicle lifted from the pad on that curiously lambent flame so distinctive of Titan II’s hypergolic propellants. Within moments, Gemini-Titan 1 vanished into the hot Florida sky, beyond reach of human senses but not electronic sensors. Telemetry data flowed back to mission controllers at the Cape, telling them that the launch was as nearly perfect as it looked.