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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gemini 3 Launches: A Photo Essay from 44 Years Ago Today

Posted by Michael Pinto

Astronaut John W. Young, the pilot of the Gemini-Titan 3 prime crew, is shown suited up for GT-3 pre-launch test exercises.

On March 23rd, 1965 the Gemini 3 launched into history — it was the first manned Gemini flight. The ship was manned by John W. Young (shown above) and Virgil I. Grissom (shown below). Grissom named the spacecraft the Molly Brown in reference to the Broadway show The Unsinkable Molly Brown as he was hoping not to duplicate his previous experience with the Liberty Bell 7. This mission was very much a test flight and this was the first time ever that an American spacecraft had a crew of two. NASA was still in catchup mode at this point as the USSR launched the Voskhod 1 in 1964 which had a crew of three.

Astronaut Virgil I. Grissom, the command pilot of the Gemini-Titan 3 space flight, is shown in the Gemini-3 spacecraft just before the hatches are secured prior to launch.

Prior to flight astronaut John W. Young, pilot of the Gemini-Titan 3 space flight, checks over his helmet during suiting operations in the suiting trailer at Pad 16:

Astronaut John W. Young, pilot of the Gemini-Titan 3 space flight, checks over his helmet during suiting operations in the suiting trailer at Pad 16 prior to flight.

Astronaut Roger B. Chaffee is shown at the consoles in the Mission Control Center:

Astronaut Roger B. Chaffee is shown at the consoles in the Mission Control Center - Houston during the Gemini-Titan 3 flight.

The launching of the Gemini-Titan 3:

Launching of the first manned Gemini flight, Gemini-Titan 3: Launching of the first manned Gemini flight. The Gemini-Titan 3 lifted off pad 19 at 9:24 a.m. The Gemini 3 spacecraft "Molly Brown" carried astronauts Vrigil I. Grissom, command pilot, and John W. Young, pilot, on three orbits of earth.

Astronauts John W. Young (left) and Viril I. Grissom stand before microphones at Cape Kennedy’s skid strip during welcome back ceremonies for Gemini-3 crew:

Astronauts John W. Young (left) and Viril I. Grissom stand before microphones at Cape Kennedy's skid strip during welcome back ceremonies for Gemini-3 crew.

Today the spacecraft is on display at within the Grissom Memorial of Spring Mill State Park, which is next to Grissom’s hometown of Mitchell, Indiana.

Original here

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