Wednesday, June 6, 1962 – Food Contract, Boilerplate Purchase


The Manned Spacecraft Center has awarded to the Whirlpool Corporation Research Laboratories of Saint Joseph, Michigan, a contract to provide the food and waste management systems for Project Gemini. Whirlpool is to provide the water dispenser, food storage, and waste storage devices. The food and the zero-gravity feeding devices, however, are to be provided by the United States Army Quartermaster Corps Food and Container Institute, of Chicago. The Life Systems Division of the Manned Spacecraft Center is responsible for directing the program.
Continue reading “Wednesday, June 6, 1962 – Food Contract, Boilerplate Purchase”

Tuesday, May 29, 1962 – Ejection Seat Plans


The development testing plans for the Gemini spacecraft ejection seat were settled in a meeting between representatives of McDonnell, Weber Aircraft, the Gemini Procurement Office, Life Systems Division, Gemini Project Office, and the US Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake, California.
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Thursday, May 24, 1962 – Parachute testing starts


At the Naval Parachute Facility in El Centro, California, North American completed a successful drop test of the emergency parachute recovery system, using a half-scale test vehicle.
Continue reading “Thursday, May 24, 1962 – Parachute testing starts”

Wednesday, May 23, 1962 – Paraglider Wing Wind Tunnel Test


The Ames Research Center has begun the first wind tunnel test of the inflatable paraglider wing, using a half-scale model of the wing intended to bring Gemini flights (after the first one) to a touchdown on the ground. This is the first large-scale paraglider wing in the full-scale test facility. The objective of the test program, to run over two months, are to understand the basic aerodynamic and loads data for the wing and spacecraft system, and to identify potential aerodynamic and design problems.
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Monday, May 21, 1962 – Launch Pad 19 For Gemini; Pulse Code Modulation for Telemetry


The pulse code modulation method is to be used for transmitting Project Gemini telemetry. McDonnell has awarded an $8 million subcontract to Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc, of Sarasota, Florida, for this digital transmission system. The system will use a pulse code modulation subsystem, an onboard tape recorder, and a pair of VHF transmitters, and be capable of transmitting data in real or delayed time.
Continue reading “Monday, May 21, 1962 – Launch Pad 19 For Gemini; Pulse Code Modulation for Telemetry”

Friday, May 18, 1962 – Parachute Landing System


McDonnell has subcontracted the parachute landing system to be used for the first Gemini flight to Northrop Ventura. The cost is estimated at $1,829,272. The design for this flight is to use a single parachute system, a ring-sail parachute with diameter 84.2 feet. Later flights are to use the paraglider system under development. Earlier meetings have worked out a provisional schedule of events for the parachute landing.

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.
Continue reading “Thursday, May 17, 1962 – Retrorocket and Parachute Decisions”

Wednesday, May 16, 1962 – Retrorockets, Parachutes, and Interface Group


Representatives of the Gemini Project Office and of McDonnell are meeting to discuss retrograde rockets for the Gemini spacecraft. These rockets are currently to be provided by Thiokol.
Continue reading “Wednesday, May 16, 1962 – Retrorockets, Parachutes, and Interface Group”

Tuesday, May 15, 1962 – Ejection seat in review; rocket catapult contract; new liaison


The first ejection seat design review has been completed. The two-day conference at McDonnell in Saint Louis was attended by representatives of McDonnell, Northrop Ventura (formerly Radioplane), Weber Aircraft, and the Manned Spacecraft Center. This is the first of a series of ejection seat design meetings planned from March 29.
Continue reading “Tuesday, May 15, 1962 – Ejection seat in review; rocket catapult contract; new liaison”

Saturday, May 12, 1962 – Project Gemini Cost Estimates Growing


A current estimate of Project Gemini costs shows considerable increases from the projections of December 1961. The spacecraft cost, estimated at $240.5 million, is now projected at $391.6 million. Titan II costs, expected five months ago to be about $113.0 million, have risen to $161.8 million. The Atlas-Agena budget has risen from $88.0 million to $106.3 million, despite this part of the program’s slowing down. Support development, including the paraglider program, has increased from $29.0 to $36.8 million. There is a bright spot on the budgetary front: the estimate of operations cost has declined from $59.0 to $47.8 million.
Continue reading “Saturday, May 12, 1962 – Project Gemini Cost Estimates Growing”

Tuesday, May 1, 1962 – Digital coding, Gemini rendezvous and radar schemes


A working group made of representatives from Goddard Space Flight Center and the Manned Spacecraft Center has formed to study making Project Gemini telemetry be transmitted fully by Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) systems. This follows a briefing from Lockheed on the system. Pulse Code Modulation is a method of numerical representations of samplings of an original analog signal. Human speech has been transmitted on such systems in experimental equipment as long ago as 1926, and was used — in conjunction with a vocoder, developed by Bell Labs, and with randomized thermal noise recorded by the Muzak Corporation — to provide secure high-level Allied communications during the Second World War.
Continue reading “Tuesday, May 1, 1962 – Digital coding, Gemini rendezvous and radar schemes”

Wednesday, April 25, 1962 – Studebaker to build heat shields


The CTL Division of the Studebaker Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio, has received a subcontract form McDonnell to provide a pair of backup heatshields for the Gemini spacecraft. The contract is for $457,875.
Continue reading “Wednesday, April 25, 1962 – Studebaker to build heat shields”

Thursday, April 19, 1962 – IBM Awarded Computer Contract


Block diagram of the Gemini spacecraft guidance and control system, originally published in the Project Gemini Familiarization Charts and at NASA's SP-4002 'Project Gemini: A Chronology' web site.

McDonnell has awarded IBM’s Space Guidance Center, of Owego, New York, a $26.6 million subcontract for the Gemini spacecraft computer system. IBM is also responsible for integrating this digital computer with the spacecraft’s systems and the components electrically connected to it. These components are to include the inertial platform, the rendezvous radar, the time reference system, the digital command system, the data acquisition system, the electronics for attitude control and maneuvers, the autopilot for the launch vehicle, console controls, displays, and aerospace ground equipment.
Continue reading “Thursday, April 19, 1962 – IBM Awarded Computer Contract”

Monday, April 9, 1962


The Gemini Project Office has received the “Gemini Manufacturing Plan” prepared by McDonnell. The plan calls for the construction of four static articles to be used in ground testing. According to the plan, dated April 6, and presented by Earl Whitlock of McDonnell, production spacecraft Number 1 is to be followed by static article Number 1.
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Saturday, April 7, 1962


McDonnell has awarded a $1 million subcontract to the ACF Electronics Division of ACF Industries (Riverdale, California). The subcontract is to provide C-band and S-band radar beacons for the Gemini craft. The beacons are to be part of the tracking system for the spacecraft.

The C-band radar would transmit at 5765 MHz and receive at 5690. The S-band radar would transmit at 2910 MHz and receive at 2840.

Tuesday, April 3, 1962


NASA’s Ames Research Center looks to have a place in the development of Project Gemini. Representatives of Ames, and the Manned Spacecraft Center, and Martin, and McDonnell meet today to discuss the Gemini wind tunnel program and the role Ames will have in it.
Continue reading “Tuesday, April 3, 1962”

Saturday, March 31, 1962


The configuration of the Gemini spacecraft is formally frozen. McDonnell has been defining the spacecraft since the basic configuration was firmed up on December 22, 1961. Since then McDonnell has been writing detailed specifications for the entire vehicle, its major subsystems, and its performance.

Thursday, March 29, 1962


McDonnell awards an $18 million subcontract to the Saint Petersburg, Florida, Aeronautical Division of Minneapolis-Honeywell. This subcontract is to provide the Inertial Maneuvering Unit of the Gemini spacecraft.
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Wednesday, March 28, 1962


McDonnell awards a subcontract worth $2.5 million to the Collins Radio Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The subcontract is to provide the voice communications system for the Gemini spacecraft.
Continue reading “Wednesday, March 28, 1962”

Wednesday, March 21, 1962


McDonnell awards a $4.475 million subcontract to the Western Military Division of Motorola, Inc, of Scottsdale, Arizona. Western Military Division is to design and build the Digital Command System for the Gemini spacecraft. This is to receive in digital format commands from ground stations, to decode them, and to send the commands to the appropriate spacecraft systems. Two types of commands are anticipated: real-time commands for spacecraft functions, and stored program commands to update data on the spacecraft’s digital computer. The Digital Command System is to consist of a receiver/decoder package and three relay packages.

Air Force Space Systems Division awards a letter contract to the Aerojet-General Corporation of Azusa, California. This is to research, develop, and procure fifteen propulsion systems for the Gemini launch vehicle, and also for the design and development of related ground equipment. Aerojet was authorized to work on the engines on February 14th. Final engine delivery is scheduled by April 1965.

Tuesday, March 20, 1962


McDonnell issues a $9 million subcontract to General Electric to design and develop fuel cells for the Gemini spacecraft. The General Electric design, selected by the Manned Spacecraft Center after an analysis completed January 23, appeared to offer advantages over the competing solar cells or other fuel cells in terms of simplicity, weight, and compatibility with other Project Gemini requirements. Much of this advantage is credited to the use of ion-exchange membranes rather than gas-diffusion electrodes within the fuel cells.

Monday, March 19, 1962


McDonnell awards a $3.2 million subcontract to Advanced Technology Laboratories, Inc, of Mountain View, California. The subcontract is for the horizon sensor system for the Gemini spacecraft. One primary and one secondary horizon sensor are to be part of the guidance and control system. The sensors are to detect and track the gradient of infrared radiation between the Earth and outer space.

McDonnell also awards a $400,000 subcontract to the Thiokol Chemical Corporation of Elkton, Maryland, for retrograde rockets. The solid-propellant retrorockets, four of which are designed to be put in the adapter section, are to start reentry or, in the event of a high-altitude suborbital abort, separate the spacecraft from the Titan II booster. It is believed that only slight modifications of a motor already in use are necessary, and that the qualification program will not need to be elaborate.

Saturday, March 17, 1962


McDonnell awarded a $5.5 million subcontract to AiResearch. AiResearch is to provide the reactant supply for Gemini spacecraft fuel cells.

The fuel cells, which are designed to provide power and water, are to store hydrogen and oxygen in two double-walled, vacuum-insulated, spherical containers in the Gemini spacecraft’s adaptor section, jettisoned at the start of the reentry procedure.

Friday, March 16, 1962


The most recent Titan II launch, October 2003.  I have lost the original source from which this picture came and would welcome correct credit information.
The Air Force successfully launched a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile at 18:09 Greenwich Time. This suborbital flight, the first full-scale test of the vehicle to also be Project Gemini’s booster, from Launch Complex 16, flew five thousand miles out over the Atlantic Ocean and reached an apogee of about eight hundred miles. This vehicle was serial number N-2.

Launch Complex 16 has since its inauguration on December 12, 1959, been used for six launches of the Titan I, three of them successful.

North American awarded a $225,000 subcontract to the Radioplane Division of Northrop Corporation today, as part of North American’s contract to design and develop emergency parachute recovery systems and test vehicles for the Paraglider Development Program.

McDonnell contracted with Vidya, Inc, of Palo Alto, California, today to test new ablation materials for the Gemini heat shields.

Wednesday, March 7, 1962


The Gemini Project Office accepted McDonnell’s preliminary design for the Gemini main undercarriage for use in land landings.  It authorized McDonnell to proceed with the detail design.  Dynamic model testing of the undercarriage should begin around April 1.

McDonnell subcontracted to the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company of Minneapolis to provide the attitude control and maneuvering electronics system.  This is to provide the circuitry linking astronaut controls to the attitude and maneuvering controls and the reaction control system.  The contract is for $6.5 million.

Monday, March 5, 1962


Westinghouse Electric Corporation of Baltimore received a $6.8 million subcontract from McDonnell. Westinghouse will provide the rendezvous radar and transponder system for the Gemini craft. The transponder is to be located in the Agena target vehicle.

Harold I Johnson, head of the Spacecraft Operations Branch (Flight Crew Operations Division of the Manned Spacecraft Center), circulated a memorandum on proposed training devices. The mission simulator should be capable of replicating a complete mission profile including sight, sound, and vibration cues, and be initially identical to the spacecraft, mission control, and remote site displays.

Training for launch and re-entry is to be provided by the centrifuge at the Naval Air Development Center (Johnsville, Pennsylvania), with a gondola set up to replicate the Gemini spacecraft interior. A static article is to serve as egress trainer. A boilerplate spacecraft with paraglider wing, used in a program including helicopter drops, will provide experience in landing on dry land. A docking trainer, fitted with actual hardware, capable of motion in six degrees of freedom, is to be used for docking operations training. And other trainers would be used for prepare for specific tasks.

The first regular business meeting between the Gemini Project Office and McDonnell occurred. Subsequent meetings are scheduled for the Monday, Tuesday, and Friday of each week. The initial coordination meetings had been held February 19, and introduction meetings were held the 19th, 21st, 23rd, 27th, and 28th.  The objective of these meetings is to discuss and settle differences in decision-making about the project.

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