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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gemini





Here are some images of Revell's 1/48 scale McDonnell Gemini capsule.
From Wikipedia "

Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini was conducted between Projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966.

Its objective was to develop techniques for advanced space travel, notably those necessary for Apollo, whose objective was to land humans on the Moon. Gemini missions included missions long enough for a trip to the Moon and back, the first American spacewalks, and new orbital maneuvers including rendezvous and docking. All manned Gemini flights were launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida atop Titan II GLV boosters.

Gemini's primary difference from Mercury was that the earlier spacecraft had all systems other than the reentry rockets situated within the capsule, most of which were accessed through the astronaut's hatchway. In contrast, Gemini housed power, propulsion, and life support systems in a detachable Equipment Module located behind the Reentry Module, which made it similar to the Apollo Command/Service Module design. Many components in the capsule itself were reachable through their own small access doors.

The original intention was for Gemini to land on solid ground instead of at sea, using a Rogallo wing paraglider rather than a parachute, with the crew seated upright controlling the forward motion of the craft. To facilitate this, the paraglider did not attach just to the nose of the craft, but to an additional attachment point for balance near the heat shield. This cord was covered by a strip of metal which ran between the twin hatches. However, this design was ultimately dropped, and parachutes were used to make a sea landing as in Project Mercury. However, the capsule was suspended at an angle closer to horizontal, so that a side of the heat shield contacted the water first. This eliminated the need for the landing bag cushion used in the Mercury capsule.

Early short-duration missions had their electrical power supplied by batteries; later endurance missions used the first fuel cells in manned spacecraft.

The "Gemini" designation comes from the fact that each spacecraft held two crewmen, as "gemini" in Latin means "twins". Gemini is also the name of the third constellation of the Zodiac and its twin stars, Castor and Pollux.

Unlike Mercury, which could only change its orientation in space, the Gemini spacecraft could translate in all six directions, and alter its orbit. It was designed to dock with the Agena Target Vehicle, which had its own large rocket engine which was used to perform large orbital changes.

Gemini was the first American manned spacecraft to include an onboard computer, the Gemini Guidance Computer, to facilitate management and control of mission maneuvers. It was also unlike other NASA craft in that it used ejection seats, in-flight radar and an artificial horizon—devices borrowed from the aviation industry. Using ejection seats to propel astronauts to safety was first employed by the Soviet Union in the Vostok craft manned by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The Gemini program cost $5.4 billion.


2 comments:

Pat Tillett said...

The technology was amazing! The first oneboard computer! Wow...

great model!

Warren Zoell said...

Thanks Pat - That and a gazillion miles of wiring.