This Day in History: Final Manned Gemini, Gemini 12, Launches (November 11th, 1966)

It would be the last of its kind, a manned mission carrying two astronauts into space in a Gemini spacecraft, and it launched on November 11th, 1966.

Following the Mercury program, but preceding the Apollo program to the moon, the Gemini program had a total of ten manned missions. Some of these missions laid the groundwork to landing men on the moon by performing in-space rendezvous with other spacecraft, docking and long-duration flights.

Both astronauts on Gemini 12, Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin, would later fly in the Apollo program. But, on this flight, which was launched into space aboard a Titan II rocket, they would engage in multiple objectives.

Aldrin held an extended spacewalk that lasted more than two hours. The Gemini capsule also rendezvoused with an unmanned Agena rocket stage. The flight lasted just under four days before returning to Earth, ending the Gemini program.

A space station planned around the Gemini, called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, was scrapped. In addition, a proposed “Big Gemini” that would expand the capabilities of the spacecraft was proposed but never built.

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