Americans would attempt to answer
the Soviet Union's volley of Leonov's spacewalk during the Gemini Titan
Mission objectives for Gemini Titan IV included:
Commander for Gemini
was chosen to be James Alton
McDivitt. His pilot would be Edward Higgins White, II. Both
astronauts were spaceflight rookies.
of Gemini spacecraft on a 4-day flight.
for crew rest and work cycles.
stationkeep with second stage of the Titan rocket.
and out-of-plane orbital maneuvers.
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
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
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
attempt to rendezvous. Rendezvous would have to wait until
later in the program after a better understanding of orbital mechanics
Astronaut White's next task was to prepare for his
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
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
White, and Blue, all over."
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
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.