First Unmanned Test Flight of the Gemini Spacecraft

Gemini 1 was First Unmanned Test Flight

First Unmanned Test Flight of the Gemini Spacecraft

Gemini 1 was the first unmanned test flight of the Gemini spacecraft in NASA’s Gemini program. Its main objectives were to test the structural integrity of the new spacecraft and modified Titan II launch vehicle. And it was also the first test of the new tracking and communication system for the Gemini program and provided training for the ground support crews for the first manned mission.

It was launched from Launch Complex 19 at cape Canaveral, Florida on April 8, 1964. Spacecraft stayed attached to the second stage of the rocket. The mission was given like three orbits while test data were taken but somehow the spacecraft stayed in orbit for almost 64 orbits until the orbit decayed due to atmospheric drag.  

Gemini conceived a bridge between America’s single-seat and the three-seat Project Apollo. The Gemini spacecraft would allow two astronauts to conduct the maneuver inherit in Apollo’s lunar mission. The spacecraft achieved orbit five and a half minutes after launch. But the main problem found was that the launch vehicle had provided a bit too much speed and put the spacecraft into an orbit with an apogee of 320 kilometer (170 nmi) instead of the planned 299 kilometer (161 nmi).

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