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Gemini 11 (1967)

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1966 | 1967

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  •  Launch of Agena Target Vehicle and Gemini spacecraft on September 12, 1966 
  •  Inside the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston 
  •  Pilot Richard Gordon performs the first of two extravehicular activities 
  •  The Gemini spacecraft uses the Agena rocket engine to set a world record high-apogee Earth orbit 
  •  Gordon conducts a stand-up extravehicular activity to photograph the Earth, clouds, and stars 
  •  Mission director Bill Schneider adds a re-rendezvous maneuver to the flight plan 
  •  Reentry and splashdown on September 15 
 
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Produced for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this government film chronicles the success of Gemini 11. Shortly after launch on September 12, 1966, the mission performed the first direct-ascent rendezvous with the Agena Target Vehicle. The spacecraft remained docked with the target vehicle for over two days. The mission set several records, including the highest apogee Earth orbit and the longest extravehicular activity. Its reentry was also the first to be completely computer-controlled.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
 
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.