The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 394
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Gemini V, an eight-day mission (August 21-29, 1965), piloted by L.
Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Charles Conrad, Jr., the fuel cell was suc-
cessfully used as an electrical power source to operate the spacecraft
components; a highly significant step in developing suitable power
sources applicable to the Apollo lunar landing mission. Besides per-
forming seventeen experiments, Cooper and Conrad executed a "phan-
tom" rendezvous exercise as a prelude to Gemini VI, the first sched-
uled rendezvous and docking mission. On October 25, 1965, the Agena
target vehicle failed to orbit, causing the Gemini VI flight to be
'"scrubbed" and bringing morale to its lowest point in Gemini opera-
tions. Recovery, however, was swift, for within three days President
Lyndon B. Johnson's office announced from his Texas ranch that the
planned fourteen-day mission Gemini VII spacecraft would serve as
the rendezvous target for the Gemini VI mission.
Perhaps the high point of Gemini came with the rapid launching
demonstrations of the Gemini VII/VI missions. Ordinarily, sixty days'
time was considered the minimum required for launch pad refurbish-
ment preparatory to the following mission, but within eleven days,
including an engine shutdown launch attempt on the eighth day, two
Titan II-modified Gemini launch vehicles had placed their manned
spacecraft payloads in excellent relative position to effect the world's
first historic space rendezvous. Gemini VII, piloted by Frank Borman
and James A. Lovell, Jr., was launched on December 4, 1965, to ac-
complish the program's long-duration, fourteen-day mission objective,
and was joined on December 15 by Gemini VI. The world learned on
that day from the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, that
Astronauts Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Thomas P. Stafford had suc-
cessfully maneuvered their Gemini VI spacecraft to within a foot of
Gemini VII. Rendezvous, as one of the Gemini program objectives,
had been attained. Both spacecraft landed successfully: Gemini VI
on December 16, within seven nautical miles of the planned landing
point; and Gemini VII on December 18, within 6.4 nautical miles.
Still another Gemini program objective-docking-was accomplished
on March 16, 1966, when Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott
maneuvered the Gemini VIII spacecraft up to and docked with the
Agena target vehicle. Almost unnoticed, when compared with this
dramatic event, was the simultaneous countdown of the two launch
vehicles-the Atlas standard launch vehicle and the Gemini launch
vehicle-at the precise moment planned, to chalk up another "first"
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/444/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.