Two Geminis Become One

By | Dec 12, 2013

On its third attempt Gemini Mission 6A, with Command Pilot Walter M. (Wally) Schirra and Pilot Thomas (Tom) P. Stafford launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on December 15, 1965.

On its fourth orbit Gemini 6A meet Gemini 7, with Command Pilot Frank F. Borman II and Pilot James A. Lowell Jr., which was already in orbit. Gemini 7 had launched on December 4, 1965 and was already 11 days into their 14 day mission.

Gemini 6A was actually suppose to have been launched before Gemini 7. Gemini 6’s mission was to meet and dock with a vessel in space. It was originally suppose to have docked with an Agena Target Vehicle. The target vessel failed 6 minute into its mission and Gemini 6 mission was aborted.

Had it not been for the quick thinking of Wally Schirra on December 12, the rescheduled launch date, Gemini 6 may never had launched. On launch the engines briefly fired, but stopped cause the mission to be aborted. Mission rules was for the astronauts to eject, but since Schirra and Stafford not feeling any upwards motion they elected not to eject. With the work of many engineers it was decided to try to launch on the 15th.

Before sleep time the two capsule moved to a distance of 10 miles apart. The next day Gemini 6A splashed down 16 kilometers from their target point. They were the first to have a truly accurate reentry.

On December 18 Gemini 7 splashed down even closer to their target point being only 11.8 Kilometers away.


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