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Gemini 12: The NASA Mission Reports: Apogee Books Space Series 40 Paperback – January 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


The entire NASA Mission Reports series are well worth having in your library. -- Extreme Rocketry, October, 2003

From the Publisher

The final document in this book has been added mainly for the curious. It reflects on a plan to actually use the mated Gemini-Agena to send astronauts around the moon. Although today it may seem to have been an especially audcious plan - particularly given the notoriously unreliable nature of Agena - at the time it was given serious consideration. In fact the original project Gemini chief engineer, Jim Chamberlin, had espoused such an idea back in March of 1961 before Gemini had flown its first flight, such was his confidence in the vehicle which he and his team were bringing to fruition. Chamberlin was a notably brilliant designer who had come to the fledging Space Task Group (STG) when the Avro Arrow CF-105 program had been concelled in Canada. Robert Gilruth had placed Chamberlin at the top of the engineering division at STG and in early 1961 he had been assigned the problem of coming up with an advanced Mercury spacecraft.

Chamberlin had worked extensively on Mercury and so he knew its weaknesses, so when he turned his considerable talents to improving the vehicle he knew it would require an overhaul to do it right. Between January and August of 1961 Chamberlin conceived of a new vehicle which would build on Mercury's strengths an eliminate many weaknesses. His ideas soon took the advanced Mercury program from what was to have been an upgrade to an entirely new program - which he felt could accomplish much of Apollo's goals. All through the summer of 1961 Chamberlin rewrote his ideas for a Gemini lunar mission. His ideas for a spider-like lander soon coincided quite handily with the ideas which were coming from John Houbolt at Langley. It was becoming evident that lunar orbit rendezvous was the way to get to the moon, and this fit nicely with the proposals that Chamberlin had devised. But his ideas were met with much scepticism by Abe Silverstein, director of Space Flight Programs.

Chamberlin must have never quite given up on the idea because the report at the end of this book comes from mid-1965. Some engineers must have felt that the only way to complete Kennedy's punitive time-line was to resort to the ever-reliable Gemini, but it ws not to be. The contracting engineers and NASA rallied to the call and as they say, the rest is history.


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Product Details

  • Series: Apogee Books Space Series (Book 40)
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894959043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894959049
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,339,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John R. Keller on April 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Over the past five years, Robert Godwin and Apogee Books have compiled a variety of various NASA documents, press kits, crew interviews and the like, which recount the early days of the space race and with specific emphasis on the Apollo missions. As is obvious from the title, this book does not focus on any Apollo mission, but the final Gemini mission, Gemini 12. With the launch of this mission, one of the most successful manned space flight projects came to an end. The mission focused on rendezvous and docking; however, the most important aspect of this mission was the testing and evaluation of the Extravehicular Activities (EVA). Veteran astronaut James Lovell who was making his second trip into space commanded this mission, while rookie astronaut Buzz Aldrin conducted the EVAs. By all accounts, this mission was extremely successful and proved that man could function in space outside of the spacecraft.
Like many of the other volumes in this NASA Mission Report series, the book opens with the usual NASA press releases and mission press kit. It is easy to tell that the author and his staff have spent some time searching for some very clean originals, since compared to their earlier efforts the scanned in drawings are almost perfect. In addition, to the customary background information, the press kit focuses on the scientific and operational aspects of the mission including a nice summary of all the Gemini missions. The next section contains the Gemini 12 Summary Operations Report, which presents a basic overview of the planned activities of the mission, including the EVA timelines. A small six page report summaries the Gemini program accomplishedments.
The next section, the crew debrief section, covers over half of the book, and is 140 pages long.
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Has all the info you will ever need to know about Gemini 12. After several unsuccessful attempts at CONTROLLED EVAs, NASA finally got everything working smoothly on Dr. Aldrin's spacewalk.
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