Collection Item Summary:
This artifact was originally an integral part of the Gemini 11 spacecraft, which was launched on September 12, 1966, with astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon. The successful operation of this hatch was crucial to Gordon's two spacewalks (EVAs). Gemini hatches also were designed to open very rapidly in case the astronauts ejected from the spacecraft before or during their launch on the Titan II booster.
This hatch was removed from the spacecraft after flight and was transferred to the manufacturer, McDonnell Aircraft, to be used in the Gemini B program, part of the US Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory project. After MOL was cancelled in 1969, this artifact was transferred to the Smithsonian. In 2000 it was refurbished and reinstalled in the spacecraft.