Thursday, May 17, 1962 – Retrorocket and Parachute Decisions


The meeting about the retrograde rocket motors has concluded the design should be changed to provide about three times the thrust level. This will allow retrorocket aborts at altitudes as low as between 72,000 and 75,000 feet. The meeting was between representatives of McDonnell and the Gemini Project Office.

The mechanical systems coordination meeting in Houston has decided to add an 18-foot ring-sail drogue parachute to the parachute landing system to be used on the first Gemini flight.

McDonnell proposes using the drogue parachute at about 10,000 feet, two seconds after the rendezvous and recovery system is released. After another fifteen seconds the main recovery parachute will switch from single-point to two-point suspension. In another five seconds begins the reaction control system propellant dump, taking no more than 105 seconds. The recovery parachute is jettisoned shortly after impact. The Manned Spacecraft Center is considering this sequencing proposal.

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Author: Project Gemini Chronology

The Project Gemini Chronology is drawn from multiple sources, but most heavily from NASA's Special Publication-4002, Project Gemini Technology and Operations: A Chronology, prepared by James M Grimwood and Barton C Hacker, with Peter J Vorzimmer. Other chronologies will be used where fitting, such as (particularly) those for Project Mercury and Project Apollo.

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