NASA HISTORY: Gemini IX Splashes Down Off Florida’s Space Coast On June 6, 1966
By NASA // June 6, 2018
first splashdown shown live on US television
JUNE 6, 1966 – The Gemini IX mission came to an end when the capsule splashed down on this day (June 6) in 1966 in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 555 kilometers (345 miles) east of their launch site in Florida.
Astronauts Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan came down within 2 kilometers (1 mile) of the recovery ship USS Wasp.
This was the first splashdown shown live on US television.
NASA learned a lot about the need for flexibility during Gemini IX. They crew had been unable to dock as planned with the uncrewed Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA) because the shroud of the ATDA failed to jettison.
Stafford described the partially uncovered spacecraft as “an angry alligator out there rotating around.”
Gene Cernan was pushed to his limits by an overly ambitious spacewalk plan. His experience taught engineers that handholds, footholds, and more careful training were a necessity for successful spacewalks.
Engineers also made adjustments to work schedules and spacesuits based on feedback from Cernan.
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