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Gemini Titan IV

"Red, White, and Blue, all over." Astronaut Edward White, II personally autographed this photo from his Gemini IV EVA for his father Brigadier General Edward H. White.  Photo Credit: NASA
Autographed Photo Of Ed White's Gemini IV EVAThe Americans would attempt to answer the Soviet Union's volley of Leonov's spacewalk during the Gemini Titan IV mission.

Mission objectives for Gemini Titan IV included:
  • Evaluate performance of Gemini spacecraft on a 4-day flight.
  • Evaluate procedures for crew rest and work cycles.
  • Demonstrate extra vehicular activity.
  • Rendezvous and stationkeep with second stage of the Titan rocket.
  • Evaulate Gemini spacecraft systems.
  • Demonstrate in-plane and out-of-plane orbital maneuvers.
The Commander for Gemini Titan IV was chosen to be James Alton McDivitt.  His pilot would be Edward Higgins White, II.  Both astronauts were spaceflight rookies.

The crew would start a new tradition in the American space program. It was the first time that the United States flag was displayed on the shoulder of a spacesuit.

On June 3, 1965, Astronauts McDivitt and White were launched on board Gemini Titan IV.  The news coverage of this launch was historic. It was the first time a launch had been broadcast live internationally via satellite.

Once the crew was in orbit, one of the first tasks was to attempt a rendezvous with the Titan booster that had propelled them into orbit.  It was easy enough for the crew to see the booster, but rendezvous with it was an entirely different matter.  Time and time again, McDivitt attempted to nudge closer to the booster.  Each time the booster seemed to drift farther away.

After using up nearly half of their fuel, the crew abandoned that attempt to rendezvous.   Rendezvous would have to wait until later in the program after a better understanding of orbital mechanics was gained.

Astronaut White's next task was to prepare for his extravehicular activity (EVA). After the cabin of the spacecraft was depressurized, White opened the Gemini hatch above his seat.  He floated gently through the hatch. White would be attached to the spacecraft with an umbilical cord.

White tested a small propulsion device called a zip gun during his EVA. The device used a jet of compressed oxygen to aid White in his maneuvers.  Astronaut White reported that it worked well.  The only problem with it was that it was small and it was not long before the compressed oxygen propellant ran out.

White truly had a marvelous time during his EVA. The view of the Earth was spectacular. Swelling with national pride, Astronaut White later reported that he felt
"Red, White, and Blue, all over."

After 36 minutes, the EVA was over and he had to go back into the spacecraft.  White sighed, "It's the saddest moment of my life."  White had been outside of the spacecraft for 21 minutes.

The flight duration for Gemini IV was 4 days, 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 12 seconds.  McDivitt and White had orbited the Earth for 62 revolutions and covered 1,609,699.48 miles.
  They splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean.  The prime recovery ship for the mission was the USS Wasp.

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UPDATED : January 8, 2007
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