Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Gemini program.

President Kennedy's famous Rice University speech on September 12, 1962 set his nation on the path to the moon; in effect the starting pistol that triggered the race with the Soviets. But to get there they would need to perfect many of the technical challenges and procedures first, in low earth orbit. That is where the Gemini program came in. Forgotten by many, the Gemini program was an essential step on the road to the moon.  

This unflown Reaction Control System (RCS) rocket engine was built by  North American Aviation's Rocktdyne Division of Sacramento, California. 

Located forward of the crew compartment in an independent RCS module. It consisted of two completely independent systems, each containing eight 25-pound thrusters.

 The purpose of the RCS engines were to maintain the attitude of the spacecraft during the reentry phase of the mission

The first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft: Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 on December 15th, 1965. 

Gemini 4 commander James McDivitt with a commemorative Fliteline medallion carried aboard the spacecraft in his Personal Preference Kit or PPK.

During the flight Edward White became the first American to walk in space. 

Each astronaut carried a PPK or Personal Preference Kit. Within were personal keepsakes for family and friends including proud symbols of the nation that had put them there.

 This 6x4 silk flag, was carried in Commander McDivitt's PPK.

Lucite display pieces containing heatshield fragments from Gemini spacecraft are not uncommon but this display, made by McDonnell Douglas machinist Norm Pavy is a little bit special. It is my understanding he made only 4 such displays for each flight. One was given to each of the crew, the third gifted by McDonnell Douglas as they saw fit and the fourth retained by Norm himself.

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