Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 14

Gemini 4

USA

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  03.06.1965
Launch time:  15:16 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral
Launch pad:  LC-19
Altitude:  296,1 km
Inclination:  32,5°
Landing date:  07.06.1965
Landing time:  17:12 UTC
Landing site:  27° 44' N, 74° 11' W

walkout photo

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  McDivitt  James Alton  Command Pilot 1 4d 01h 56m  62 
2  White  Edward Higgins II  PLT 1 4d 01h 56m  62 

Crew seating arrangement

1  McDivitt
2  White

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Borman  Frank Frederick II  Command Pilot
2  Lovell  James Arthur, Jr. "Shaky"  PLT

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alternate crew photo

Flight

Launch from Cape Canaveral; landing 650 km southwest of Bermuda Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the first launch, which was broadcasted on television to twelve European nations using the satellite "Early Bird" and for the first time the new Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, was used.

Mail goals of Gemini 4 were the first multi-day-spaceflight of the United States, and the first American extra-vehicular activity (EVA).

On the first orbit, James McDivitt attempted to rendezvous with the spent Titan second stage. This was unsuccessful for a number of reasons. Especially here was no radar on board Gemini 4 to give a precise range to the target, so the astronauts had to rely on their visual depth perception to estimate the range, and this differed for the two men. Initially James McDivitt estimated the distance at 400-500 feet (120-150 m), while Edward White believed it was closer ("a little over 200 feet (61 m)").

The first EVA of an U.S. astronaut occurred on June 03, 1965 (Edward White in 23 m). He used a hand-held maneuvering gun. With bursts from this zip gun he was able to "walk" around the capsule, but after short time the compressed oxygen fuel bottle was empty. He was also able to mount and dismount the camera and move and remove electrical connections from outside the capsule. But Edward White had big problems to come back into the capsule, because there were problems to lock the hatch. James McDivitt had to help him. After the door was latched Edward White sat back, physically exhausted, sweat streaming into his eyes and fogging his faceplate. James McDivitt also felt tired, so they rested before extending a radio antenna to find a ground-based voice and tell Earth all was well. But the first EVA of an American astronaut was successful.

All secondary objectives were met except one. The secondary objective of station keeping and rendezvous was only partially successful because separation and rendezvous was not attempted due to fuel consumption. All in all 11 scientific experiments were performed, including observations, photography work. The engineering experiment Electrostatic charge gave higher readings than expected. Onboard were also a Proton-Electron Spectrometer and a Tri-Axis Magnetometer. One medical experiment was the Phonocardiogram experiment, which had sensors attached to their bodies that measured heartbeat rates, especially during liftoff, EVA, and reentry.

Gemini 4 missed its mark by 80 km, but within a few minutes the capsule was recovered by the USS Wasp. A malfunctioning thruster caused the roll to be much faster than planned, and the landing was rough.

Photos / Drawings

more EVA photos


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Last update on April 08, 2014.