About The 4 Days of Gemini 4
Astronaut Edward H.White is shown strolling in space, the first space walk by an American. Several on-board cameras capture outstanding photographic records of this breathtaking spacewalk.Gemini 4 (or Gemini IV) was the second manned space flight in NASA's Project Gemini, occurring in June 1965. It was the tenth manned American spaceflight (including two X-15 flights at altitudes exceeding 100 kilometers (54 nmi)). Astronauts James McDivitt and Edward H. White, II circled the Earth 66 times in four days, making it the first US flight to approach the five-day flight of the Soviet Vostok 5. The highlight of the mission was the first space walk by an American, during which White floated free outside the spacecraft, tethered to it, for approximately 20 minutes...The flight was the first American flight to perform many scientific experiments in space, including use of a sextant to investigate the use of celestial navigation for lunar flight in the Apollo program...Extra-vehicular activity (EVA)Originally planned for the second revolution, the astronauts postponed the EVA until the third after McDivitt decided that White, following the stress of the launch and the failed rendezvous, looked tired and hot. After a rest, the pair finished performing the checklist for the EVA. Flying over Carnarvon, Australia, they began to depressurize the cabin. Over Hawaii, White pulled the handle to open his hatch, but the latches failed to move.Fortunately, McDivitt knew what the problem was, because the hatch had failed to close in a vacuum chamber test on the ground, after which McDivitt worked with a technician to see what the cause was. A spring, which forced gears to engage in the mechanism, had failed to compress, and McDivitt got to see how the mechanism worked. In flight, he was able to help White get it open, and thought he could get it to latch again...Tied to a tether, White floated out of the spacecraft, using a Hand-Held Maneuvering Unit (informally called a "zip gun") which expelled pressurized oxygen to provide thrust for controlling his travel. He went fifteen feet (five meters) out, and began to experiment with maneuvering. He found it easy, especially the pitch and yaw, although he thought the roll would use too much gas. He maneuvered around the spacecraft while McDivitt took photographs. White enjoyed the experience, but exhausted the HHMU gas sooner than he would have liked.White was running up against two factors which constrained the time for his EVA: loss of signal from the Bermuda tracking station, and crossing the solar terminator...White tried to use taking more pictures as an excuse to stay out longer, and McDivitt had to coax him in. He finally came back in after a total of approximately 20 minutes. He said, "It's the saddest moment of my life." By the time he got in, the spacecraft had entered darkness.The hatch proved to be as stubborn to relatch as it was to open. This would have been disastrous, resulting in both men's deaths on reentry. But McDivitt was able to fix the mechanism once again, so White could close it. The mission plan called for opening the hatch again to throw out White's now-unnecessary EVA equipment, but McDivitt elected not to do this, instead keeping the unnecessary equipment on board for the rest of the flight.They powered down the spacecraft's maneuvering system, intending to drift for the next two-and-a-half days to conserve the remaining fuel. They also intended to sleep alternate four-hour periods, but this turned out to be extremely difficult with the constant radio communications and the small cabin, about the size of the front seats of a compact car.White's 20-minute space walk was the mission's highlight, with McDivitt's photographs being published worldwide...ReentryThe computer failed on the 48th revolution... The computer failure meant that the capsule would not be able to perform a closed-loop lifting reentry as planned.Reentry came on the 62nd revolution. An open-loop rolling reentry (as used in Mercury) had to be used because of the computer failure... Even though they landed 43 nautical miles (80 km) short of the intended landing target, some ships had already started steaming to the touchdown point and a helicopter was able to see them land. The prime recovery ship was USS Wasp... Film Duration: 27 min
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