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The KHOU-TV Collection - Gemini 6A Mission (1965)

Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Silent | 1965

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  •  View of the Gemini 7 spacecraft from Gemini 6. Astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford piloted Gemini 6A, while Frank Borman and Jim Lovell flew Gemini 7.  
  •  Before going to sleep on the night of December 15, the Gemini 6A crew communicated that they saw “an object” in polar orbit. Schirra and Stafford then began playing “Jingle Bells” using a harmonica and a bell. The instruments are currently on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum as the first musical instruments ever played in space.  
 
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Produced for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, this footage captures the rendezvous of Gemini 6A and Gemini 7. KHOU-TV Channel 11 in Houston used the footage for a February 1966 broadcast. Gemini 6 was originally scheduled to launch on October 25, 1965, with a planned mission of docking with an Agena Target Vehicle. The target vehicle exploded after separation, however, forcing NASA to cancel the original mission and plan an alternate, Gemini 6A. Following another malfunction delay, the spacecraft finally launched on December 15 with the primary objective of performing the first manned space rendezvous. Gemini 7, which had launched on December 4, served as the passive target. The two spacecraft moved as close as one foot apart. (Neither was properly equipped for docking.) Gemini 6A returned to Earth on December 16. Gemini 7 splashed down two days later.
The digital preservation of this collection was made possible by a grant to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the Houston Public Library from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
 
Many more films from the KHOU-TV Collection are available on the Houston Public Library Houston Area Digital Archives website.