Gemini 12

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Gemini XII
Buzz Aldrin performs an EVA during the Gemini XII mission, with the Agena Target Vehicle visible in the background
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 1966-104A
SATCAT № 2566
Mission duration 3 days, 22 hours, 34 minutes, 31 seconds
Orbits completed 59
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Gemini SC12
Manufacturer McDonnell
Launch mass 3,762.1 kilograms (8,294 lb)
Landing mass 1,947.24 kilograms (4,292.93 lb)
Crew size 2
Members James A. Lovell, Jr
Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr
EVAs 3
Start of mission
Launch date November 11, 1966, 20:46:33 (1966-11-11UTC20:46:33Z) UTC[1]
Rocket Titan II GLV
Launch site Cape Kennedy LC-19
End of mission
Recovered by USS Wasp
Landing date November 15, 1966, 19:21:04 (1966-11-15UTC19:21:05Z) UTC
Landing site 24°35′N 69°57′W / 24.583°N 69.950°W / 24.583; -69.950[1]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth orbit
Perigee 251 kilometers (136 nmi)
Apogee 289 kilometers (156 nmi)
Inclination 28.8 degrees
Period 89.94 minutes
Epoch November 14, 1966[2]
Docking with GATV-5001A
Docking date November 12, 1966, 01:06:00 UTC
Undocking date November 13, 1966, 20:18:00 UTC
Time docked 1 day, 19 hours, 12 minutes

Gemini 12 insignia.png Gemini12 crew.jpg
(L-R) Aldrin, Lovell

Project Gemini
← Gemini 11

Gemini 12 (officially Gemini XII)[3] was a 1966 manned spaceflight in NASA's Project Gemini. It was the 10th and final manned Gemini flight, the 18th manned American flight and, including X-15 flights over 100 kilometers (54 nmi), the 26th spaceflight of all time. Gemini XII was the last U.S. space flight until Apollo 7, twenty three months later. The tragedy of Apollo 1 in January 1967 grounded NASA manned missions and multiple changes were made to vehicle design, astronaut suits, astronaut training, and NASA management.


Position Astronaut
Command Pilot James A. Lovell, Jr
Second spaceflight
Pilot Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr
First spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Astronaut
Command Pilot L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
Pilot Eugene A. Cernan

Support crew[edit]

Mission parameters[edit]

Aldrin during an EVA


  • Docked: November 12, 1966 - 01:06:00 UTC
  • Undocked: November 13, 1966 - 20:18:00 UTC

Space walk[edit]

  • Aldrin - EVA 1 - (stand up)
    • Start: November 12, 1966, 16:15:00 UTC
    • End: November 12, 1966, 18:44:00 UTC
    • Duration: 2 hours, 29 minutes
  • Aldrin - EVA 2
    • Start: November 13, 1966, 15:34:00 UTC
    • End: November 13, 1966, 17:40:00 UTC
    • Duration: 2 hours, 06 minutes
  • Aldrin - EVA 3 (stand up)
    • Start: November 14, 1966, 14:52:00 UTC
    • End: November 14, 1966, 15:47:00 UTC
    • Duration: 0 hours, 55 minutes


The Gemini 12 spacecraft and the Agena, photographed at 15 feet apart during docking
Gemini 12 tethered stationkeeping

At the completion of the previous Gemini flight, the program still had not demonstrated that an astronaut could work easily and efficiently outside the spacecraft. In preparation for Gemini XII new, improved restraints were added to the outside of the capsule, and a new technique—underwater training—was introduced, which would become a staple of future space-walk simulation. Aldrin's two-hour, 20-minute tethered space-walk, during which he photographed star fields, retrieved a micrometeorite collector and did other chores, at last demonstrated the feasibility of extravehicular activity. Two more stand-up EVAs also went smoothly, as did the by-now routine rendezvous and docking with an Agena which was done "manually" using the onboard computer and charts when a rendezvous radar failed. The climb to a higher orbit, however, was canceled because of a problem with the Agena booster.

Many documentaries[examples needed] afterward largely credit the spacewalk innovations, including the underwater training, to Aldrin himself.[4]

Gemini 12 was designed to perform rendezvous and docking with the Agena target vehicle, to conduct three extra-vehicular activity (EVA) operations, to conduct a tethered stationkeeping exercise, to perform docked maneuvers using the Agena propulsion system to change orbit, and demonstrate an automatic reentry.

Gemini 12 Agena info
Agena GATV-5001A
NSSDC ID: 1966-103A
Mass 3,175 kilograms (7,000 lb)
Launch site LC-14
Launch date November 11, 1966
Launch time 19:07:58 UTC
1st perigee 294.7 kilometres (183.1 mi)
1st apogee 303.2 kilometres (188.4 mi)
Period 90.56 m
Inclination 28.86
Reentered November 15, 1966

When Gemini 12 was being planned, one of the possibilities raised was the potential for the flight to be run in conjunction with the first Apollo mission, which had been tentatively scheduled for the last quarter of 1966.[5] By May 1966, delays in making Apollo ready for flight just by itself, and the extra time needed to incorporate compatibility with the Gemini, made that impractical.[6] This became moot when slippage in readiness of the Apollo spacecraft caused the last-quarter 1966 target date to be missed, and the Apollo mission was rescheduled for February 21, 1967.[7]


Gemini 12 crew after splashdown

The 14 scientific experiments were (1) frog egg growth under zero-g, (2) synoptic terrain photography, (3) synoptic weather photography, (4) nuclear emulsions, (5) airglow horizon photography, (6) UV astronomical photography, and (7) dim sky photography. Two micrometeorite collection experiments, as well as three space phenomena photography experiments, were not fully completed.


The capsule was controlled on reentry by computer and splashed down 4.8 kilometers from its target.

The Gemini 12 mission was supported by the following U.S. Department of Defense resources; 9,775 personnel, 65 aircraft and 12 ships.


Gemini 12 space-flown Fliteline Medallion

The patch's unique orange and black colors are a link to the flight's original scheduled date close to Halloween. The Roman numeral XII is located at the 12 o'clock position on the face of a clock, with the Gemini spacecraft pointing to it like the hour hand of a clock. This represents the position of Gemini 12 as the last flight of the Gemini program. With the Apollo project following this last flight of the Gemini program, the ultimate objective—the Moon—is symbolized by the crescent on the left.

Spacecraft location[edit]

After several years at the Museum of Transport and Technology, in Auckland, New Zealand, the spacecraft was returned to the United States. It is now on display at the Adler Planetarium, Chicago, Illinois. Lovell and Aldrin were reunited with the spacecraft November 9, 2006 during the opening for Adler's "Shoot for the Moon" exhibit, almost 40 years after the mission launched. Lovell's voice is used for the exhibit's recorded narration.

See also[edit]

Photo of solar eclipse taken by the crew of Gemini 12


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b "Gemini XII" (PDF). Gemini Program Mission Report. NASA. 1967. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  2. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "SATCAT". Jonathan's Space Pages. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  3. ^ Hacker, Barton C.; Grimwood, James M. (September 1974). "Chapter 11 Pillars of Confidence". On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini. NASA History Series. SP-4203. NASA. p. 239.  With Gemini IV, NASA changed to Roman numerals for Gemini mission designations.
  4. ^ "Friends and Rivals," When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, Season 1 Ep. 2, Discovery Channel (2008).
  5. ^ "3 Crewmen Picked For 1st Apollo Flight". The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL). Associated Press. March 22, 1966. p. 1. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Apollo Shot May Come This Year". The Bonham Daily Favorite (Bonham, TX). United Press International. May 5, 1966. p. 1. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ Orloff, Richard W. (September 2004) [First published 2000]. "Apollo 1 - The Fire: 27 January 1967". Apollo by the Numbers: A Statistical Reference. NASA History Division, Office of Policy and Plans. NASA History Series (Washington, D.C.: NASA). ISBN 0-16-050631-X. LCCN 00061677. NASA SP-2000-4029. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 

External links[edit]