The Gemini Space Program

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The Gemini Space Program was mandated with three main objectives; to subject and research the effects of Space flight of up to twelve weeks on both man and space craft; to safely and precisely dock with a manned space capsule; and to perfect the method of re-entry into the atmosphere and landing safely back on Earth. Out of the twelve Gemini programs, the first two were unmanned expeditions, and the remaining 10 were manned by astronauts. The Gemini space program, from 1965 to 1966, of which the longest flight was 94 hours, was the second of the three staged mission to put a man on the moon.

The Gemini Space Program was preceded by the Mercury space program, of which the longest flight was 34 hours, and the mission objectives were to understand the effect on astronauts of space flight, and the capability to safely launch and retrieve astronauts and space capsules. After the successful completion of the Mercury Space Program, the Gemini Space Program was given the green light to further President kennedy's proclamation that an American would be the first to step on the Moon.

The Gemini space program was the second step in the United States' objective of beating the Russians to be the first nation to safely put a man on the moon. The Apollo space program was the third and final program for placing a man on the moon, and was done in stages, from reaching, then orbiting, then landing on the Moon. Over a period of one year and eight months, the Gemini space program was designed to teach the astronauts how to fly the space craft, and to learn and improve upon the procedures and equipment required to safely manoeuvre that space craft into docking with another, Earth-orbiting craft, normally a Russian Soyuz rocket. The film of the first handshake between a cosmonaut and an astronaut is one that still resonates within the Space Program today.

There were 12 Gemini flights, each with two astronauts. The last flight was manned by James Lovell and "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., and Gemini eight, the first of seven moon landings (the last of which was in December of 1972), was manned by the astronaut who would eventually be the first earthling to step on the Moon, Neil Armstrong. Armstrong's flight was almost catastrophic, with his capsule spinning out of control, and communications lost. But control of the craft was eventually retaken by the astronauts, and a successful Earth landing and astronaut extraction was completed.

The Gemini Space Program was the precursor to manned space flight, and taught the astronauts, mission control specialists and space craft designers what types of fuels, materials and equipment were required to successfully allow astronauts to fly into space, orbit the Earth, and re-enter the atmosphere safely. The final objective was to safely eradicate the astronauts from their landing craft, all of which were staged in Oceans, to avoid any innocent lives lost by wayward landings on terra firma.

The most important aspect of the Gemini Space Program, as with the Mercury and Apollo Space Programs was that they were successful, save for a few catastrophic explosions that killed all astronauts on board, and a Canadian school teacher. With all objectives of the Gemini Space Program successfully completed, the Apollo Space Program was initiated, and eventually, during Apollo VIII, Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on the Moon.

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