THE WORLD'S FIRST SPACE RENDEZVOUS
On December 15, 1965, Gemini 6, piloted by Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, pulled within 0.3 meters (1 foot) of Gemini 7, piloted by Frank Borman and Jim Lovell. It was the first time in history that two vehicles had maneuvered to meet in space.
Gemini 6 was actually launched after Gemini 7. It was supposed to take off on October 25, but the flight was cancelled after the unmanned rendezvous and docking target vehicle blew up. The mission was quickly changed to a rendezvous with Gemini 7.
Three days before Gemini 6's successful launch on December 15, 1965, a heart-stopping shutdown of the Titan II launch vehicle's engines occurred during the first lift-off attempt. Schirra and Stafford did not eject only because of their coolness under extreme pressure.
Gemini 7 in orbit as photographed from Gemini 6, December 15, 1965.
Surviving Two Weeks in Space
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