NASA’s first emergency in space-Gemini 8

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[Excerpt]

Fifty years ago today [March 16, 2016] was an exciting and busy day at Cape Canaveral, Florida.  But it would turn into a type of excitement that NASA and the entire Gemini space program would have preferred to avoid.

March 16, 1966 was to mark an important milestone for Project Gemini and in the history of space flight over all.  If the day’s events went well, the Gemini 8 crew of commander Neil Armstrong and pilot David Scott would achieve the first ever docking in space, between their Gemini spacecraft and an orbiting Agena target vehicle.

Gemini 8 was a crucial step in terms of docking,” said Greg Brown, a historical interpreter at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, where the Gemini 8 spacecraft resides.

“Everybody was happy. Champagne corks popped and cigars were lit. The astronauts had been trained that if anything went wrong or got squirrely during the docking, the problem was probably with the Agena.”

But that was not how it turned out.

Read the story at Spaceflight Insider.