This is a cutaway of a 25-pound thrust Gemini Orbital Attitude Maneuvering System (OAMS) thruster. This thruster allegedly flew on Gemini 8 launched on 16 March 1966 with astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott. The launch went smoothly but a major problem developed after docking of the spacecraft with the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV), when a spacecraft OAMS thruster malfunctioned. It is possible the thruster shown here was the one that caused the problem. The crew undocked from the GATV and brought the spacecraft under control by deactivating the OAMS and using the reentry control system (RCS) to reduce the spacecraft's rapid rotation. Premature use of the RCS, however, required the mission to be terminated early. Encasing the cutaway of the thruster in a clear block created a unique commemorative item. By 1969, the Smithsonian Institution's National Collection held both the thruster and the Gemini 8 capsule.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration