THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Final Flight of the Gemini Program Lifts Off From Cape Kennedy in 1966

By  //  November 11, 2020

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November 11, 1966

ABOVE VIDEO: Gemini 12 was designed to perform rendezvous and docking with the Agena target vehicle, to conduct three Extravehicular Activity (EVA) operations, to conduct a tethered stationkeeping exercise, to perform docked manoeuvers using the Agena propulsion system to change orbit, and demonstrate an automatic reentry.

(NASA HISTORY) – On this day, 54 years ago, marked the final flight of the Gemini program, Gemini XII.

At this point in the space program, NASA astronauts had successfully performed rendezvous and docking, changed orbits, and spent two weeks in space.

However, they had yet to master a crucial ability: spacewalking.

Looking toward the future, NASA knew that mastering spacewalks would be necessary to achieve the goal of landing the first humans on the moon before the end of the decade.

As a result, the primary objective of Gemini XII was to solve the problems of working outside a spacecraft.

On November 12, 1966, astronaut Buzz Aldrin performed a stand-up spacewalk, during which he installed a handrail that would assist his movements during the full extravehicular activity (EVA).

Aldrin also took what he called “the first space selfie.” The next day, Aldrin successfully completed a two-hour, nine-minute spacewalk.

Commander Jim Lovell photographed Aldrin as he worked with electrical connectors on the Agena spacecraft.

The spacewalking problem was solved!