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  Space Cover 255: Parachutes and Gemini 6A

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 255: Parachutes and Gemini 6A
yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 476
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 03-04-2014 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 255 (March 2, 2014)

Space Cover #255: Parachutes and Gemini 6A

An interesting aspect of early space cover collectors is that many of them added their own wording by typing a description of the event onto the cover. Many times this was a description from the NASA Aeronautics and Astronautics (A&A) yearbook series. Others used their own references or knowledge to add this wording.

Many times serviced events for say a Pershing or Minuteman launch could be changed into a Project Mercury or Project Gemini cover by "converting" it by typing an event description on the cover. These sell at a premium over the Pershing or Minuteman cover of the same date.

I really like to read the descriptions on the covers not quoting a source like A&A to see how they described the event. The covers above show an insight into why...

The first cover sounds great... "On Dec.15 Capt. Schirra and Maj. Stafford was launched in Gemini VI. They maneuvered their craft within 1 ft. of Gemini VII At a speed of 17,500 m/hr they flew in formation for a distance of 103,000 miles"

As the spacecraft approached each other the two spacecraft were only 130 feet apart. The maneuvering burns had only used 110 pounds of fuel on Gemini 6A, leaving plenty of fuel for the rendezvous. During the next 270 minutes the crews moved as close as 1 foot, talking over the radio. At one stage the spacecraft were in formation so well that neither crew had to make any burns for 20 minutes. As the sleep periods approached, Gemini 6A made a separation burn and slowly drifted out to 16 kilometers, to prevent an accidental collision in the night.

The second cover sounds good too... "On Dec.16 Capt. Walter Schirra and Major Thomas Stafford parachuted from Gemini VI. 12 miles from the USS Wasp. They had made 16 orbits of the earth in 25 hrs. 52min. It was 1 hr. 5min. before the men and their space ship was hoisted aboard the USS Wasp."

This is the only account I have seen of the Gemini 6A astronauts parachuting from their capsule 12 miles from the USS Wasp …. Interesting reading and perspective from a collector from that time period.

So the next time you see a cover where a collector has typed their own version of the event check it out in detail, you may find a completely different perspective than you thought you would.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1713
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-04-2014 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really enjoy these posts on space covers because I don't collect them and the posts allow me to learn about another interesting aspect of our hobby. However it appears the information on the second cover may be incorrect.

The book "How NASA Learned to Fly in Space" says the Gemini 6 "capsule splashed down just over 7 miles from the target point..."

David Baker's book "The History of Manned Spaceflight" agrees with the above number but other sources do not, and this does not detract from the personalized story on the cover.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 476
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 03-04-2014 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by garymilgrom:
The book "How NASA Learned to Fly in Space" says the Gemini 6 "capsule splashed down just over 7 miles from the target point..."
Thanks for your reply but as happens a lot there are multiple sources that have conflicting information. Here are some examples for the "miles from the USS Wasp."

In the JSC Digital Library for Photo ID: S65-61824:

A helicopter hovers over the Gemini 6 spacecraft after it splashed down 12 miles from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Wasp in the western Atlantic recovery area at 10:29 a.m. December 16, 1965.
From Wally Schirra website:
Gemini GT-6A splashed down on December 16, 1965 in the Atlantic Ocean, just eight miles from the USS Wasp after 16 orbits over 25 hours 51 minutes and 24 seconds.
From: Gemini 7: The NASA Mission Reports (Compiled from the archives and edited by Robert Godwin):
At 8:53:24 c.s.t., Gemini 6 fired its retro-rockets in the area about 700 miles northwest of Canton Island. At 9:29:09 c.s.t. December 16, 1965, Gemini 6 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean about 12 miles southwest of the aircraft carrier Wasp. The Gemini 6 crew elected to remain inside their spacecraft until it was lifted aboard the carrier.
So depending on the "source" used by the collector what they typed is "correct." Who is actually correct and what is the source of an "official" number? Many times even various NASA publications give different numbers for the same statistic.

Want to give credit to Rich Orloff for his great book "Apollo by the Numbers" for trying to give the "official" numbers for all the Apollo missions statistics from the many conflicting sources.

albatron
Member

Posts: 2165
From: Stuart, Florida, USA
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 03-05-2014 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See? Not ONLY did we not go to the Moon, but we never flew on Gemini missions either!!! They simply took the capsule up, and the crews would parachute OUT of them since they knew water landings would cause too much stress on them.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 638
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-05-2014 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like a plot (conspiracy?) right out of the 1978 movie Capricorn One, about a faked flight to Mars.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1713
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-09-2014 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom thanks for your information. I didn't realize the figures could vary so much. I've edited my post. Thanks also for mentioning Apollo by the Numbers which I'd never heard of. It's available as a PDF online, great resource.

All times are CT (US)

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