Gemini V

Gemini V astronauts Conrad and Cooper, practicing for yet another thing that could go wrong in a mission (but didn’t). Image from NASA JSC archive.

Last August was the 50th anniversary of the Gemini V mission. For this blog, the Gemini V mission begins a theme for a small series of stories about astronauts and their character. As my Apollo 50th Anniversary Moment article from August describes, astronauts are tough. They’re also smart and resourceful, traits Charles Conrad and Gordon Cooper displayed generally day-to-day, but especially useful for them throughout the Gemini V mission.

Why Gemini V for an Apollo 50th Anniversary series? It was NASA’s program to learn as much as they could about piloting, living, and surviving in space–things that were critical to know for successfully living through Project Apollo–NASA’s program to get astronauts to the moon. Space was new to everyone–Americans and Russians–and there was a lot to learn.

Gemini V was interesting for many reasons, including the few setbacks the astronauts faced. One particular setback would have radically cut the mission duration, but the astronauts faced the challenge very well. I described that one particular challenge, and how the astronauts handled it, in my article for the Space Foundation’s “Space Watch”: Eight Days or Bust–Gemini V.

There is no Clapper light switch in space…remember, it was over 50 years ago.

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