of the Gulf of Tonkin, China, and Luichow Peninsula from Gemini 5
of the Gulf of
Tonkin, China and the Luichow Peninsula taken from the Gemini 5
spacecraft in orbit over the Earth.
Date: 21 August 1965
Film Type: 4x5
NASA image: S65-45731
Conrad and Cooper slice cake on U.S.S. Lake Champlain
Conrad Jr. (left) and L. Gordon Cooper Jr. prepate to slice into the
huge cake prepared for them by the cooks onboard the aircraft carrier
U.S.S. Lake Champlain. They are using ornamental Navy swords for
Date: 29 August 1965
Film Type: 35mm
NASA image: S65-51660
More pictures of the Gemini
are available at:
Gemini 5 Fact Sheet
Written and Edited by
Gemini 5 (NASA Code: GT-5)
Launch Date: August
Launch Time: 8:59:59
Launch Site: Launch
Gemini-Titan II GLV-5 (GT-5)
Spacecraft Number 5
L. Gordon Cooper, Command
Charles Conrad, Jr., Pilot
Mission Duration: 7
Days, 23 Hours, 55
Minutes, 14 Seconds
Number of Orbits: 120
Recovery Date: August
Recovery: U.S.S. Lake
A computer malfunction coupled with approaching thunderstorms
caused a launch attempt on August 19, 1965 to be scrubbed.
With a mission duration of nearly eight days, Gemini 5
successfully demonstrated that astronauts could endure weightlessness
for the approximate period of time necessary to fly to the Moon and
The Gemini 5 capsule was intended to rendezvous with a
Evaluation Pod (REP) which was released early in the flight. Although
the REP was successfully deployed, rendezvous with the REP was
canceled due to problems with the Gemini 5 fuel cell system, which
produced electricity and water during the mission.
Although the use of on-board fuel cell systems to provide
electricity and water during space flights is common today, Gemini 5
marked the first time an on-board fuel cell was used for this
purpose. Fuel cell performance was erratic at the start of the
mission, but stabilized as the flight pressed ahead.
With the REP rendezvous canceled, the crew performed a
rendezvous with an imaginary target instead. Although a number of
on-orbit maneuvering experiments were planned, many were canceled due
to problems with the Orbital Attitude Maneuvering System (OAMS),
which became more and more erratic as the flight continued.
Since these cancellations resulted in more idle time for the
astronauts than originally planned, astronaut Conrad later remarked
that he wished he had "brought along a book". A total of 17
scientific experiments were flown, of which 16 were completed.
Once again, a Gemini spacecraft significantly missed its
recovery vessel. The Gemini 5 spacecraft splashed down about 89 miles
short of its target. The error was due to faulty data transmitted to
the spacecraft from ground computers.
Astronaut Cooper became the first person to orbit Earth in two
separate space flights.
Note: Gemini 5 was the first U.S. manned space flight to have
official mission insignia. The Gemini 5 astronauts designed a mission
insignia featuring a conestoga wagon bearing the motto "8 Days
While the astronauts were allowed to wear the insignia on
sewn on their spacesuits, NASA required that the motto "8 Days
or Bust" be covered with fabric during the actual mission.
NASA managers feared that the public would perceive the
a "bust" if for some reason it did not complete eight days
in duration, no matter how much scientific data was generated. In
addition, NASA feared the potential association of the word "bust"
with portions of the female anatomy.
Today, the motto "8 Days or Bust" is included in the
official Gemini 5 mission insignia. From Gemini 5 onward, all U.S.
manned space flights have carried official insignias designed and
approved by the crew. Official insignias for missions before Gemini 5
were approved after those flights were completed.