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What Was the Gemini Program?
March 16, 2011
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Gemini was an early NASA program. It flew humans into space. Ten crews flew during Gemini. Their missions were flown in 1965 and 1966. Gemini missions flew between the Mercury and Apollo programs. Gemini helped NASA get ready for moon landings.

What Spacecraft Were Used for the Gemini Program?
On the outside, the Gemini spacecraft looked a lot like the one used for Mercury. It was bigger than the Mercury capsule. It could hold two people instead of one. But each astronaut did not have much room.

Gemini was named after a constellation. The name means "twins." This name was used because the Gemini capsule would carry two people.
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What Happened on the Gemini Missions?
Gemini crews did many jobs. The new vehicle had to be tested. Astronauts had to learn how to walk in space. Some missions stayed in space for a longer time. Other crews practiced flying near other spacecraft. One of the last crews even connected to another spacecraft!
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Why Was The Gemini Program Important?
Before Gemini, NASA had only flown in space a few times. The Mercury missions proved that astronauts could fly in space. NASA had to learn what happens when people spend more time in space. It had to learn how astronauts could go outside a spacecraft in a spacesuit. It had to learn how to connect two spacecraft together in space. All of these things had to be done so we could go to the moon. Before Gemini, NASA had not done any of them. Gemini proved NASA could do them all.

More About Gemini Program:
› Gemini Gallery   →
› What Was Project Mercury?
› What Was the Apollo Program?
› What Is a Spacesuit?
› What Is a Spacewalk?
› Who Was Neil Armstrong?


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David Hitt/NASA Educational Technology Services

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An astronaut in a spacesuit outside the vehicle
Astronaut Ed White became the first American to conduct a spacewalk on Gemini 4.
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NASA
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Launch of Gemini 3 on a Titan booster
In March 1965, astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young became the first Gemini crew to fly.
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NASA
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A Gemini spacecraft in orbit
This picture of the Gemini 7 spacecraft was taken by the Gemini 6 crew in orbit.
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NASA
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Page Last Updated: September 10th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator