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Remembering Project Gemini

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Fifty years ago, NASA began a program called Project Gemini, developing deep space travel techniques and equipment to prepare for the upcoming Apollo program. Two unmanned and ten manned missions were flown, and astronauts and engineers accomplished hundreds of goals, including the first American spacewalk, a 14-day endurance test in orbit, space docking, and the highest-ever manned orbit at 1,369 km (850 mi). After the project ended in 1966, many Gemini astronauts brought their experiences with them as they went on to fly Apollo missions to the Moon. Collected here are remarkable images of Project Gemini half a century ago -- some beautiful, some technical, and a few surprisingly intimate. [41 photos]

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NASA Astronaut Edward White floats in zero gravity of space northeast of Hawaii, on June 3, 1965, during the flight of Gemini IV. White is attached to his spacecraft by a 25-ft. umbilical line and a 23-ft. tether line,both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand he carries a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit. (NASA/JSC/ASU)
NASA Astronaut Edward White floats in zero gravity of space northeast of Hawaii, on June 3, 1965, during the flight of Gemini IV. White is attached to his spacecraft by a 25-ft. umbilical line and a 23-ft. tether line,both wrapped in gold tape to form one cord. In his right hand he carries a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit. (NASA/JSC/ASU)
Model Titan rocket with Gemini capsule in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel on March 20, 1964, at NSAA's Langley Research Center. (NASA) #
Astronauts Virgil I. Grissom (center) and John W. Young (left), prime crew for the Gemini-Titan 3 mission, are shown inspecting the inside of Gemini spacecraft at the Mission Control Center at Cape Kennedy, Florida, on November 9, 1964. (NASA) #
A Gemini capsule being tested in Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel at NASA's Langley Research Center, on November 7, 1962. (NASA) #
An aerial view of the unmanned Gemini/Titan-II launch vehicle #1 liftoff at Cape Kennedy, Florida, on April 8 1964. (NASA) #
Practicing with a full-scale model of the Gemini Capsule in Langley's Rendezvous Docking Simulator, on December 19, 1962. (NASA/James Schultz) #
Astronaut John W. Young, the pilot of the Gemini-Titan 3 prime crew, is shown suited up for GT-3 prelaunch test exercises, on March 8, 1965. (NASA) #
A distant view of the successful launching of the first manned Gemini flight, on March 23, 1965. The Gemini-Titan 3 (GT-3) lifted off Pad 19, at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at 9:24 a.m. (EST). The Gemini-3 spacecraft "Molly Brown" carried astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, command pilot, and John W. Young, pilot, on three successful orbits of Earth. (NASA) #
Flight director John D. Hedge (left), chief, Flight Control Division; Glynn S. Lunney (standing left), chief, Flight Dynamics Branch, Flight Control Division; and James W. Beach, assistant flight director for Gemini-Titan 3, are shown in the Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas during the Gemini-Titan 3 flight, on March 23, 1965. (NASA) #
Clouds over Malagasy Republic, seen from the orbiting Gemini III capsule on March 23, 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
The USS Intrepid pulls up alongside the Gemini-3 spacecraft during recovery operations following the successful Gemini-Titan 3 flight, on March 23, 1965. Navy swimmers stand on the spacecraft's flotation collar waiting to hook a hoist line to the Gemini-3. (NASA) #
The Gemini-Titan 4 (GT-4) spaceflight launches from Cape Kennedy's Pad 19 at 10:16 a.m. (EST) on June 3, 1965. The GT-4 spacecraft carried astronauts James A. McDivitt, command pilot, and Edward H. White II, pilot, on a four-day, 62-revolution mission. (NASA) #
A look at the Gemini IV spacecraft in orbit, in June of 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
One of the Gemini IV astronauts holds a camera up to the viewport to take a photograph. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
A view of Florida Straits, Grand Bahama Bank, from Gemini IV in orbit. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Astronaut Edward White floats in zero gravity of space northeast of Hawaii, during the first-ever spacewalk for an American, on June 3, 1965, during the flight of Gemini IV. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
The face of one of the Gemini IV astronauts inside the dark capsule in June of 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
California's Salton Sea, in Imperial Valley, seen from orbiting Gemini V in August of 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
An overall view of the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston, Texas, during the Gemini-5 flight in August of 1965. (NASA) #
Cloud patterns seen over Baja California, Mexico, from Gemini V in orbit in August of 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Gemini 6A approaches for the first manned rendezvous with another spacecraft, its sister Gemini 7, on December 15, 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., chief of the astronaut office of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, chomps vigorously on a cigar during relaxing moments following the Gemini-6 liftoff, on December 15, 1965. He is seated at his console in the Kennedy Space Center Mission Control Center. (NASA) #
The crew of Gemini VI observe the Moon above Earth's limb. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Gemini 6A closes to within 35 feet of its sister capsule, Gemini 7, on December 15, 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Waves of clouds along the east flanks of the Andes Mountains cast an orange glow by the low angle of the sun in the West as photographed during the Gemini 7 mission with astronaut James A. Lovell looking South from Northern Bolivia across the Andes in December of 1965. (AP Photo/NASA) #
A fish-eye lens view of the interior of the Gemini 7 Spacecraft. (NASA) #
Clouds at twilight, seen from Gemini 6, in December of 1965. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott sit with their spacecraft hatches open while awaiting the arrival of the recovery ship, the USS Leonard F. Mason after the successful completion of their Gemini 8 mission, on March 16, 1966. They are assisted by USAF Pararescuemen Eldrige M. Neal, Larry D. Huyett, and Glenn M. Moore. The overhead view shows the Gemini 8 spacecraft with the yellow flotation collar attached to stabilize the spacecraft in choppy seas. The green marker dye is highly visible from the air and is used as a locating aid. (NASA) #
Above Isla La Tortuga, off the coast of Venezuela, a view of the "angry alligator" from a range of 85ft. Gemini 9A astronauts were planning to dock with the Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA), but canceled their plans when they discovered its protective shroud still attached. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Inside an orbiting Gemini 9, astronaut T.P. Stafford looks out a window in June of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
On June 5, 1966, Gemini 9A Commander Eugene Cernan spent more than 2 hours on a spacewalk, taking this photo while standing in the open hatch over the Pacific Ocean. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Gemini 9A Commander Eugene Cernan captured this nose view of spacecraft his spacecraft while on his spacewalk in June of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Lt. Cdr. Gordon prepares for hatch open, used equipment jettison during Gemini 11, in September of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
A reflection of the astronaut photographer's hand and camera can bee seen in this photo of the Earth's limb over the east coast of Australia, seen from Gemini 11, in September of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
An Agena target vehicle, attached to the Gemini 11 capsule by a tether. Astronauts were able to create a small amount of artificial gravity by spinning the two spacecraft connected by a 50-foot tether. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Major Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin's helmet, seen as he emerges from the open hatch of Gemini 12, in November of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Col. And Mrs. Edwin Aldrin, Sr., parents of Gemini 12 astronaut Edwin Aldrin, Jr., keep a close eye on television set being tuned in at their home, on November 11, 1966, in Brielle, New Jersey. (AP Photo) #
Astronaut Aldrin during another spacewalk, part of Gemini 12, in November of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Gemini 12, docked to Agena, with the hatch open, a view of Florida below. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Major Buzz Aldrin inside the spacecraft during the flight of Gemini 12, in November of 1966. (NASA/JSC/ASU) #
Astronauts Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., and James A. Lovell Jr., are lifted from their space capsule after splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, on December 23, 1966, the end of the final Gemini flight. (AP Photo) #

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