Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 16

Gemini 7

USA

USA
Patch Gemini 7 Gemini program patch

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  04.12.1965
Launch time:  19:30 UTC
Launch site:  Cape Canaveral
Launch pad:  LC-19
Altitude:  327 km
Inclination:  28,89°
Landing date:  18.12.1965
Landing time:  14:05 UTC
Landing site:  25° 25,1' N, 70,6° 7' W

walkout photo

Crew Gemini 7

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Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Borman  Frank Frederick  Command Pilot 1 13d 18h 35m  206 
2  Lovell  James Arthur, Jr. "Shaky"  PLT 1 13d 18h 35m  206 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Borman
2  Lovell
Gemini capsule

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  White  Edward Higgins II  Command Pilot
2  Collins  Michael  PLT
Crew Gemini 7 (prime and backup)

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alternate crew photo

alternate crew photo

Patch Gemini 7 (backup crew)

Flight

Launch from Cape Canaveral; landing 1200 km southwest of the Bermuda Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

Main objectives for Gemini 7 were a long duration flight and a rendezvous with the later launched Gemini 6A. Gemini 7 was originally intended to fly after Gemini 6A, but the original Gemini 6 mission was cancelled after the failure during launch of the Agena Target Vehicle with which it was meant to rendezvous and dock. The objective of rendezvous was so important, that it was decided to fly Gemini 6A at the same time as Gemini 7, using the latter as the rendezvous target.

After separating from the spent rocket stage, they turned the spacecraft around and tried to perform a rendezvous maneuver with the rocket stage. They spent fifteen minutes formation flying with the stage (closest approach about 6m), but the rocket stage vented its own fuel and that maneuver was stopped.

Gemini 6A launched December 15, 1965, after a three-day-long delay due to a malfunction and engine shutdown immediately after ignition. It entered into an 87-by-140-nautical-mile (161 by 260 km) orbit, and was briefly visible from Gemini 7 just after launch.

Successful was another rendezvous maneuver with the later launched spacecraft Gemini 6A. For 270 minutes the crews moved as close as 30 centimeters, talking over the radio. Several stationkeeping maneuvers (cycling each other, approaching, backing off) were performed. This was a really milestone of human spaceflight.

For the first time the astronauts slept and worked together. Their sleep periods were scheduled at the same time unlike previous missions and they were able to get some sleep. 20 experiments were planned, only two of them had been cancelled, but there were only four new experiments. One of the new biological experiments was "Bioassays of Body Fluids". Its purpose was to study the effect of space flight on body fluid chemistries. Other medical experiments were for example calcium balance study and inflight sleep analysis.

Both astronauts set a new flight duration record by that time. The last three days in space the mission began to drag. While in drifting flight, both astronauts red some of their books (authors: Mark Twain and Walter D. Edmonds).

There were a few problems during the flight. The astronauts again had problems with the fuel cells und several thrusters worked poorly. A just-used urine collection bag split open early in the mission. The crew never managed to collect all the floating globules, but James Lovell later described this flight as '...two weeks in the Men's Room' - not very comfortable.

The reentry was performed without any problems only 12 km of the targeted landing point. The crew was brought to the USS Wasp.

Photos / Drawings

Gemini spacecraft Gemini in Orbit
crew in training crew in training
Gemini 7 on launch pad Gemini 7 launch
Gemini control panel Gemini 6A and 7
Andes mountains Nile delta
Earth observation
Gemini 7 recovery

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Last update on December 21, 2013.