Gemini 10 Launch Anniversary
Gemini 10 (officially Gemini X) was a 1966 manned spaceflight in NASA’s Gemini program. It was the 8th manned Gemini flight, the 16th manned American flight and the 24th spaceflight of all time (includes X-15 flights over 100 kilometres (62 mi)).
Gemini established that radiation at high altitude was not a problem. After docking with their Agena booster in low orbit, Young and Collins used it to climb another 763.8 kilometers to meet with the dead, drifting Agena left over from the aborted Gemini 8 flight—thus executing the program’s first double rendezvous. With no electricity on board the second Agena the rendezvous was accomplished with eyes only—no radar. After the rendezvous, Collins space-walked over to the dormant Agena at the end of a 15.24 meter tether, making Collins the first person to meet another spacecraft in orbit. He retrieved a cosmic dust-collecting panel from the side of the Agena, but returned no pictures of his close encounter; in the complicated business of keeping his tether clear of the Gemini and Agena, Collins’ Hasselblad camera worked itself free and drifted off into orbit.
Gemini 10 was designed to achieve the objectives planned for the last two missions—rendezvous, docking and EVA. As well as this it was also hoped to dock with the Agena Target Vehicle from the Gemini 8 mission. This Agena’s battery power had failed many months earlier and this would demonstrate the ability to rendezvous with a dormant object. It would be also the first mission to fire the Agena’s own rocket, allowing them to reach higher orbits.