It is amazing to consider that only 60 years, less than a single lifetime, separates the Wright Brothers’ first successful powered flights and Project Gemini. Even more amazing is the fact that Gemini was the second manned U.S. spacecraft.

The program was named Gemini because each spacecraft carried two men and gemini in Latin means “twins”. Project objectives for Gemini included subjecting two men and equipment to long duration flights; effective rendezvous and docking with other orbiting vehicles; and extravehicular activities (spacewalking).

Taking a page from the Wrights’ early experiments, the Gemini capsules were initially intended to land using a glider deployed on reentry, but instead opted for the parachute configuration used in Project Mercury.

Specifications: Length: 18.6 feet. Weight: 8,490 pounds. Engine: Titan II missile.
Overall length: 109 feet. Overall weight: 347,290 pounds. Program cost: $5.4 billion.

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