Gemini Space Program Missions 7 &12

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Gemini 7

A cutaway illustration of the Gemini spacecraft. The Adapter module in white, the Reentry module in grey.
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Gemini Space Program Missions 7 & 12 Lovell’s first space flight was as pilot of Gemini 7. (The fourth manned Gemini mission) With command pilot Frank F. Borman II. Launched on 4 December 1965, the mission lasted for 14 days. (206 orbits) To test the ability of the crew and the craft to function that long in space.

Setting an endurance record that lasted until the Skylab program in the 1970s. Gemini 7 also served as the rendezvous target for Gemini 6A. Launched on 15 December, with Schirra as the command pilot.

Unablated Gemini heat shield
Ablated Gemini heat shield.

This marked the first rendezvous in space between two manned spacecraft. (The original Gemini 6 launch was scrubbed when the unmanned Agena target vehicle was not ready for launch).

Rendezvous of Gemini 6A and 7, December 1965

Gemini 6A was recovered by Wasp (CVS-18) in the Atlantic east of Florida on 16 December.

While Gemini 7 remained in orbit, suffering a number of mechanical breakdowns that resulted in only partial power, which did not threaten mission safety but provided valuable lessons learned.

Gemini VII at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in 2009

Lastly, Gemini 7 splashed down in the Atlantic within 6.4 nautical miles of the recovery ship, also Wasp.

Gemini Space Program Missions 7 & 12

Gemini 12

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Lovell returned to space for his second mission as command pilot of Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission, with Buzz Aldrin as pilot (he would become the second man to set foot on the moon).

In addition, the Gemini 12 mission launched on 11 November 1966 and lasted for just under four days.

All Gemini Launches from GT-1 through GT-12
All Gemini launches from GT-1 through GT-12.

In conclusion, it involved three extra-vehicular activities during 59 orbits, and the fourth space docking with the Agena target vehicle. Lastly, Gemini 12 splashed down in the western Atlantic on 15 November 1966 and was recovered by Wasp.

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Gemini Space Program Missions 7 & 12