During the ten crewed missions of the Gemini program the astronauts documented their journey with a Hasselblad 500c medium format camera. These photographs capture the magic and wonder of their enterprise.
The Gemini space program started in 1961 between projects Mercury and Apollo. Its objective was to develop space travel techniques to support Apollo’s mission to land astronauts on the Moon. The missions aboard the cramped two-astronaut Gemini spacecraft spanned 1965 and 1966.
James A. McDivitt aboard Gemini IV, the second manned spaceflight of the project Gemini, in June 1965. McDivitt and Edward White circled the Earth 66 times in four days, the first multi-day space flight by the United States. The highlight of the mission was the first space walk by an American during which White floated outside the spacecraft for approximately 20 minutes.
Sixteen astronauts flew on the ten crewed Gemini missions: Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Walter Schirra, Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman, Pete Conrad, James Lovell, James McDivitt, Thomas Stafford, Edward White, John Young, Buzz Aldrin, Eugene Cernan, Michael Collins, Richard Gordon and David Scott.
The Agena Target Vehicle
The Agena Target Vehicle was an unmanned vehicle launched separately from the Gemini spacecraft. It was used to practice docking maneuvers. The first successful docking occurred with Gemini VIII, although the mission was aborted shortly after due to a malfunctioning thruster on the Gemini spacecraft.
Although Earth observation was not one of the objectives of the Gemini missions, the astronauts did not resist pointing their cameras at our planet and bring back some stunning images.
The Gemini Spacecraft
The pictures of Gemini VII below were captured from Gemini VIa. When the Gemini VI mission was scrubbed because its Agena target failed, Gemini VIa became the rendezvous target for Gemini VII instead. Both crafts flew side by side for over 5 hours at distances of 0.3 m to 90 m.