|The EVA on Gemini IV by Ed White
was very successful. It had proved that
man could survive in the space environment
wearing only a spacesuit.
Other questions remained to be answered.
Rendezvous was a big question mark after the
failed attempts on Gemini IV. Longer
mission duration's would also need to be
tested. Four days was not enough time to
get to the Moon and back.
The next mission in the Gemini program was
scheduled to be Gemini Titan V. The crew
selected for this mission was commander Leroy
Gordon (Gordon) Cooper, Jr. and pilot Charles
Peter (Pete) Conrad, Jr.
One objective for this mission was to rendezvous
with a pod ejected from the Gemini spacecraft
after it reached orbit.
Another objective was to lengthen the amount of
time that the crew remained in orbit. The
goal would be to stay in space for eight-days.
A new electrical supply system was added to the
Gemini spacecraft to support that length of
stay. This system used a technology called
fuel cells. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and
oxygen to produce electricity with water as a
by-product. Fuel cell technology was
needed because batteries could not supply enough
power for long duration missions.
Recognizing the prime objective for the Gemini V
mission, Cooper created a patch for the crew to
wear on their spacesuits. This patch
featured a covered wagon with the slogan "Eight Days Or
NASA was very concerned about the
public relations problems that might occur if
the mission did not achieve an eight day
mission. Headlines everywhere would be
calling the mission a bust. For this reason,
Cooper was forced to modify the patch
design. He was able to keep the covered
wagon but the slogan was removed.
Gemini Titan V lifted off with Cooper and Conrad
on August 21, 1965. Liftoff was smooth but
the boost phase was a little rough. Gemini
Titan V experienced a phenomenon particular to
liquid fueled rockets called pogo. Pogo is
an effect caused by resonance between the
engines and the fuel supply system. As the
name implies pogo causes longitudinal vibrations
in the vehicle resembling a pogo stick.
Despite the problem, Cooper and Conrad achieved
a successful orbit. The rendezvous pod was
ejected from the Gemini V spacecraft soon after
it entered orbit. A problem arose
with the new fuel cells before a
rendezvous could be attempted.
The pressure in them was lower than expected and
it was dropping. Heaters were turned on
with the expectation of raising the pressure.
The pressure still kept dropping. Facing
the probability of loosing the electrical
production from the fuel cells, Cooper and
Conrad powered down their spacecraft.
The opportunity for rendezvous with the pod was
lost. The good news for the mission was
that the fuel cells stabilized and continued to
operate even with the reduced pressure.
Cooper and Conrad were given the go ahead to
power the spacecraft back up.
objective with the rendezvous pod was lost, an
alternative objective was created. Cooper was
able to demonstrate through maneuvers that he
could arrive at a preselected position in space
with reasonable accuracy. This activity
simulated rendezvous even though there was no
After 7 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes, and 14
seconds, Gemini V splashed down in the Atlantic
Ocean. Cooper and Conrad had met their
objective for an eight-day mission.
This spaceflight duration also wrested away the
duration record away from the Soviet
Union. Prior to this point in the race to
the Moon, that record that had always been held
by a Soviet cosmonaut.