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Gemini Flies!


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In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade. With just a handful of years to pull it off, NASA authorized the Project Gemini space program, which gathered vital knowledge needed to achieve the nation's goal. This book introduces the crucial three-step test program employed by the Gemini system, covering: The short unmanned orbital flight of Gemini 1 that tested the compatibility of launch vehicle, spacecraft and ground systems. The unmanned suborbital flight of Gemini 2 to establish the integrity of the reentry system and protective heat shield. The three-orbit manned evaluation flight of Gemini 3, christened `Molly Brown' by her crew. A mission recalled orbit by orbit, using mission transcripts, post-flight reports and the astronauts' own account of their historic journey. The missions of Project Gemini was the pivotal steppingstone between Project Mercury and the Apollo Program. Following the success of its first two unmanned missions and the exploits of Gus Grissom and John Young on Gemini 3, NASA gained the confidence to plan an even bolder step on its next mission, as described in the next book in this series on Gemini 4.
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Table of Contents

Author's Preface.- Acknowledgements.- Dedication.- Foreword by Colin Burgess.- Abbreviations and Acronyms.- Prologue: Molly Brown is on her way.- Chapter 1: Mercury Mark II.- Chapter 2: A "Clean and Green" Flying Machine.- Chapter 3: Ramming the Atmosphere.- Chapter 4: Preparations.- Chapter 5: Guts and John.- Chapter 6: All Systems Look Go.- Chapter 7: Molly Brown "Performing Nicely".- Chapter 8: Got Your Seat Belts Hooked?.- Chapter 9: The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Chapter 10: Gemini Operational.- Appendix I.- Appendix II.- Appendix III.- Bibliography.- About the author.- Other works by the author.- Index.

About the Author

Dave Shayler's interest in the U.S. Gemini program began during the late 1960s while reading about the earlier missions of Apollo astronauts as they prepared for the first lunar landings. The skills they acquired, which secured their seats on Apollo, were achieved during ten Gemini missions flown between March 1965 and November 1966. From that early research, Dave learned that Gemini was an important steppingstone to Apollo, and though short, it was a critical program not only as preparation for going to the Moon but also in planning future programs. Even today, nearly 50 years after the final Gemini spacecraft flew, the program holds a special place in the hearts of those who worked on it. Over the years this research continued and resulted in visits to the NASA JSC facilities and archives in Houston and the NARA records offices in Fort Worth, Texas, where many of the official Gemini documents had been retired. Dave had the good fortune to meet and interview astronauts and engineers who worked on the program and access retired documentation from that exciting era. In 1976, as his interest in human spaceflight developed, he joined the British Interplanetary Society; in 1984 Dave was elected a Fellow and since 2013 has served as a member of the BIS Council. For the past few years, he has served as Chair for the BIS Library Committee and Coordinator and Co-Chair of the annual Soviet/Chinese Technical Forum. In addition in 1990, he became a co-founder and Chairman of the Midlands Spaceflight Society. In order to focus research and writing activities, he formed his own company, Astro Info Service, in October 1982. Together with his writing activities, this has allowed Dave to travel to the United States and Russia to tour leading spaceflight facilities, interview astronauts, cosmonauts, managers and engineers and research official documentation on various aspects of human space history, including hardware and operations for the Gemini program. In addition, he has completed an extensive program of lectures, presentations and workshops across the UK to various educational, social and professional groups, and has supported the work of several fellow authors and researchers, with many of his efforts being referenced or suggested for further reading.

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