Project Gemini

Which constellation inspired the name of NASA's first two-person spacecraft?

And the answer: Gemini.

Photo courtesy: NASA. 

NASA named the Gemini spacecraft and program after the constellation Gemini, which is the Latin word meaning "twins." They chose this name because the Gemini capsule would carry two people. Project Gemini set the stage for Project Apollo, which led to astronauts landing on the moon.

Project Gemini taught NASA a great deal about what it would take to put astronauts on the moon. Though the Mercury mission proved that astronauts could fly in space, there were still many dots to connect before a moon landing would be possible. Project Gemini helped gather data on how the human body could withstand space travel, how astronauts could go outside a spacecraft in space, and how to connect two spacecraft.

Gemini 3 was the first flight that tested a new space vehicle, and carried astronauts to space. During the Gemini 4 test flight, astronaut Ed H. White II became the first American to spacewalk. Gemini 5 stayed in orbit for more than a week, marking the longest time a manned NASA craft remained in space. Gemini 6A and 7 missions were in space at the same time and met each other in orbit, while Gemini 7 stayed in space for two weeks. Gemini 8 connected with another unmanned spacecraft in orbit. Gemini 9 mission tested different ways of flying near another spacecraft, 10 connected with another spacecraft and used its engines to move both vehicles, Gemini 11 mission flew higher than any NASA mission before and Gemini 12 perfected all that had been learned over each mission.

Learn more about the legendary project below.

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