|Mission name||Gemini 5|
|Spacecraft name||Gemini 5|
|Spacecraft mass||3,605 kilograms (7,950 lb)|
|Call sign||Gemini 5|
|Launch vehicle||Titan II #62-12560|
|Launch pad||LC-19 (Cape Kennedy Air Force Station)|
|Launch date||August 21, 1965, 13:59:59 UTC|
|Landing||August 29, 1965, 12:55:13 UTC|
|Number of orbits||120|
|Apogee||350.1 kilometres (189.0 nmi)|
|Perigee||162 kilometres (87 nmi)|
|Orbital period||89.59 min.|
|Distance traveled||5,242,682 kilometres (3,257,652 mi)|
|(L-R) Conrad, Cooper|
Gemini 5 (officially Gemini V) was a 1965 manned spaceflight in NASA's Gemini program. It was the third manned Gemini flight, the 11th manned American flight and the 19th spaceflight of all time (includes X-15 flights over 100 kilometres (62 mi)). It was also the first time an American manned space mission held the world record for duration, set on August 26, 1965, by breaking the Soviet Union's previous record set by Vostok 5 in 1963.
|Command Pilot||L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
Second and last spaceflight
|Pilot||Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.
|Command Pilot||Neil A. Armstrong|
|Pilot||Elliot M. See, Jr.|
- Mass: 3,605 kilograms (7,950 lb)
- Perigee: 162 kilometres (101 mi)
- Apogee: 350.1 kilometres (217.5 mi)
- Inclination: 32.61°
- Period: 89.59 min
- REP (Radar Evaluation Pod) sub-satellite:
On August 21, 1965 at 16:07:15 UTC, the REP was released into orbit from the Gemini 5 spacecraft.
Gemini 5 doubled the U.S space-flight record of the Gemini 4 mission to eight days. This flight was crucial because the length of time it took to fly to the moon, land and return would take eight days. This was possible due to new fuel cells that generated enough electricity to power longer missions, a pivotal innovation for future Apollo flights. Cooper and Conrad were to have made a practice space rendezvous with a "pod" deployed from the spacecraft, but problems with the electrical supply forced a switch to a simpler "phantom rendezvous," whereby the Gemini craft maneuvered to a predetermined position in space. Mercury veteran Gordon Cooper was the first person to travel on orbital missions twice. He and Conrad took high-resolution photographs for the Defense Department, but problems with the fuel cells and maneuvering system forced the cancellation of several other experiments. The astronauts found themselves marking time in orbit, and Conrad later lamented that he had not brought along a book. On-board medical tests, however, continued to show the feasibility of longer flights.
|REP||Radar Evaluation Pod|
|Mass||34.5 kilograms (76 lb)|
|Launch date||August 21, 1965|
|Release time||16:07:15 UTC|
|Perigee||162 kilometres (101 mi)|
|Apogee||350.1 kilometres (217.5 mi)|
|Reentered||August 27, 1965|
Conrad, who had a reputation for frequently having a punchline on hand, called the mission "Eight days in a garbage can." (the garbage can referring to the small size of the Gemini cabin, which was about the size of the front seat of a Volkswagen Beetle.)
The launch was perfect except for a few seconds of pogo (axial oscillation of the rocket). This was measured at +0.38 g (3.7 m/s²) during stage 1 flight, exceeding the permitted +0.25 g (2.5 m/s²) for a total of about 13 seconds. The cause was traced to a pre-launch procedure and pogo never affected another Gemini flight. The initial orbit was 163 by 349 kilometres.
The first major event on the mission was the ejection of the Radar Evaluation Pod (REP) at 2 hours and 13 minutes into the flight. The radar showed that the pod was moving a relative speed of two meters per second. While out of radio contact with the ground, the crew found that the pressure in the fuel cell had dropped from 850 to 65 pounds per square inch (5,900 to 450 kPa) 4 hours and 22 minutes into the flight. This was still above the 22.2 psi (153 kPa) minimum but Cooper decided to shut it down. Without power they would be unable to rendezvous with the REP, and it could also mean a premature end to the mission.
Tests on the ground found that it was possible for the fuel cell to work, even with low oxygen pressure. However, with the fuel cell off, they would only be able to stay in orbit for a day and still have enough battery power for reentry.
It was decided to turn the fuel cells back on and test them by using equipment that required more and more power. These showed that the fuel cells were stable and the crew could continue the mission.
The crew became cold as they drifted. Even with the coolant pipes in the suits turned off and the airflow on low, they still shivered. Stars slowly drifting by the windows also proved disorienting, so the crew put covers on the windows.
As with Gemini 4, the crew had trouble sleeping in alternate sleep periods. They still had little rest when they decided to take their sleep periods together.
The phantom rendezvous came on the third day. It went perfectly, even though it was the first precision maneuver on a spaceflight. They tried four maneuvers—apogee adjust, phase adjust, plane change, and coelliptical maneuver—using the orbit attitude and maneuvering system (OAMS).
The ground crew discovered a small problem the next day. The fuel cell produced wastewater (not suitable for drinking, as it was too acidic) that was stored in a tank on board. This was the same tank used for drinking water, with the potable and non-potable water separated by a bladder wall. The problem was that the fuel cell was producing 20% more discharge than expected. However, it was soon determined that there would still be room left over at the end of the mission.
On the fifth day, a relatively major problem occurred when one of thrusters in the OAMS stopped working. This meant the cancellation of all the experiments requiring fuel. None of the attempts to resolve the thruster problem was successful.
Seventeen experiments were planned, with one cancelled, as it involved photography of the REP. Experiment D-1 involved the crew photographing celestial objects, and D-6 was a ground photography experiment. Experiments D-4/D-7 involved making brightness measurements of celestial and terrestrial backgrounds and of rocket plumes. Experiments S-8/D-13 investigated whether the crew's eyesight changed during the mission.
All the medical experiments from Gemini 4 were performed, as well as experiment M-1 into the performance of the heart. This involved Conrad wearing inflatable leg cuffs. Experiment M-9 also investigated whether the astronauts' ability to measure horizontally changed.
S-1 involved Cooper taking the first photographs of the zodiacal light and the gegenschein from orbit. There was also syntopic photography of Earth. One photograph of the Zagros Mountains revealed greater detail than the official geologic map of Iran. Experiment S-7, the Cloud-Top Spectrometer revealed that the height of clouds could be determined from orbit.
Retrofire came 190 hours 27 minutes 43 seconds into the mission over Hawaii. They controlled the reentry, creating drag and lift by rotating the capsule. Due to a computing error, the crew landed 130 kilometers short of the planned landing point in the Atlantic Ocean. Though the computer had worked perfectly, a programmer had entered the rate of the Earth's rotation as 360° per 24 hours instead of 360.98° See Sidereal day.
The Gemini 5 mission was supported by the following U.S. Department of Defense resources: 10,265 personnel, 114 aircraft and 19 ships. Recovery was by USS Lake Champlain.
This was the first mission to have an insignia patch. After Gemini 3, NASA barred astronauts from naming their spacecraft. Cooper, having realized he had never been in a military organization without one, suggested a mission patch to symbolize the flight. NASA agreed, and the patches got the generic name of "Cooper patch." Cooper choose the image of a covered wagon due to the pioneering nature of the flight. The slogan "8 Days or Bust" was emblazoned across the wagon, but NASA managers objected to this, feeling it placed too much emphasis on the mission length and not the experiments, and fearing the public might see the mission as a failure if it did not last the full duration. A piece of nylon cloth was sewn over the slogan.
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See also↑Jump back a section
- Sehlstedt, Albert "Gemini Nears Soviet Space Flight Mark" (August 26, 1965) The Baltimore Sun, p. 1
- Cooper, Gordon; Bruce Henderson (2002). Leap of Faith: An Astronaut's Journey into the Unknown. HarperTorch. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-06-109877-2.
- French, Francis; Colin Burgess (2007). In the Shadow of the Moon. University of Nebraska Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-8032-1128-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Gemini 5|
- Gemini 5 Mission Report (PDF) October 1965
- NASA Gemini 5 press kit - August 12, 1965
- Gemini 5 in On The Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini
- Spaceflight Mission Patches: http://www.genedorr.com/patches/Intro.html
- NASA data sheet: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/database/MasterCatalog?sc=1965-068A
- U.S. Space Objects Registry http://usspaceobjectsregistry.state.gov/search/index.cfm