Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 21

Gemini 11

USA

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  12.09.1966
Launch time:  14:42 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral
Launch pad:  LC-19
Altitude:  161 - 281 km
Inclination:  28,89°
Landing date:  15.09.1966
Landing time:  13:59 UTC
Landing site:  24° 15,4' N, 70° 0' W

walkout photo

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Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Conrad  Charles, Jr. "Pete"  Command Pilot 2 2d 23h 17m  44 
2  Gordon  Richard Francis, Jr. "Dick"  PLT 1 2d 23h 17m  44 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Conrad
2  Gordon

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Armstrong  Neil Alden  Command Pilot
2  Anders  William Alison "Bill"  PLT

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Flight

Launch from Cape Canaveral; landing 1330 km southeast from Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean.

The main goal of this flight was to dock with an Agena target vehicle on a direct-ascent rendezvous. Secondary objectives included docking practice, two EVAs, 12 scientific experiments, docked maneuvers, a tethered vehicle test, demonstrating automatic reentry, and parking the GATV.

The launch was postponed twice: On September 09, 1966 due to a small leak in the first stage oxidizer tank of the GLV, and on September 10, 1966 due to a suspected malfunction of the autopilot on the Agena capsule.

The docking with the unmanned Agena target vehicle GATV-11 was completed after five flight maneuvers and only 94 minutes after the launch. There were no fuel problems and the crew began docking practice (two dockings and re-dockings of both astronauts).

In the first EVA on September 13, 1966 (0h 38m) Richard Gordon attached the tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar, but became fatigued too, even the GATV was modificated with handrails. The face plate of his helmet fogged and this EVA was shortened.

The whole complex of two spacecrafts was then brought up to a high apogee record of 1.360 km, using the boosters of the Agena target vehicle.

The second EVA on September 14, 1966 (2h 08m) was in fact a SEVA. The astronaut remained with his legs in the spacecraft. Richard Gordon photographed the Earth, clouds and stars.

After two orbits the Agena was fired again for 22.5 seconds to lower the Gemini-Agena back down to a 287 x 304 km orbit. The spacecrafts were then redocked and the joined pair was brought into a rotation to build a small gravity in the spacecrafts. The rotation rate checked out at 55 degrees per minute, and the crew could test for a minute amount of artificial gravity, but they did not sense any physiological effect of gravity.

12 experiments were performed by the astronauts (9 scientific and 3 technological), but only two photograph experiments were new. The other seven - weather, terrain, and airglow horizon photography, radiation and zero-g effects, ion-wake measurement, nuclear emulsion, and the ultraviolet astronomical camera - and all three technological experiments - mass determination, night image intensification, and power tool evaluation - had already been assigned to previous missions. The night image intensification was enjoyed by the astronauts, but was also a little bit handicapped due to a dirty window on Charles Conrads site.

At the end of the mission the first fully automatic controlled reentry was performed. Gemini 11 splashed down 2.8 miles (4.5 km) from its recovery ship. The recovery ship was the USS Guam.

Photos / Drawings

crew in training crew in training
 

more Earth observation photos


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Last update on November 25, 2014.