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"...the flight you enjoy most is the flight you're flying at the time. I enjoyed Apollo. The Gemini was a nice little machine. I enjoyed that, too."
- John Young, Orlando Sentinel, 9-20-85
Gemini 3

March 23, 1965

Gemini 3
The Gemini Program
Information obtained from NASA

On December 7, 1961, NASA announced a plan to extend the existing manned spaceflight program; this plan was officially designated as the Gemini program on January 3, 1962 (named after the third constellation of the Zodiac with its twin stars Castor and Pollux). Designed to be an intermediate step between Project Mercury and the Apollo program, the major objectives of the Gemini program were:
  • To subject two men and supporting equipment to long duration flights (up to 2 weeks) - a requirement for projected later trips to the moon or deeper space.

  • To effect rendezvous and docking with other orbiting vehicles, and to maneuver the docked vehicles in space, using the propulsion system of the target vehicle for such maneuvers.

  • To perfect methods of reentry and landing the spacecraft at a pre-selected land-landing point.

  • To gain additional information concerning the effects of weightlessness on crew members and to record the physiological reactions of crew members during long duration flights.

Gemini 10

July 18 - 21, 1966

Gemini 10
All of the major objectives were achieved with the exception of the land landing, which was cancelled in 1964 when development problems began to impact the program.

Approximately 40 medical and scientifc experiments and photographic projects were completed in the 10 manned Gemini missions.
Gemini costs totaled $1.29 billion.
  • $790.4 mission for spacecraft

  • $417.4 million for launch vehicles

  • $82.3 million for program support

"We need to send people [back] to the moon and to Mars. And get on with it."
- John Young, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-26-98
The Apollo Program
Information obtained from NASA

Besides landing Americans on the Moon and returning them safely to Earth, the Apollo program's objectives were:
  • To establish the technology to meet other national interests in space.

  • To achieve preeminence in space for the United States.

  • To carry out a program of scientific exploration of the Moon.

  • To develop man's capability to work in the lunar environment.
The Apollo program required a launch rocket that could lift 7.5 million pounds, a package of complex scientific experiments that could be deployed by two men, the development of two new spacecraft (the command module and the lunar module), and a vehicle to extend the exploration of the surface of the Moon (the lunar rover). At the peak of Apollo, there were approximately 420,000 NASA and contractor personnel working on the program.

The astronauts who explored the Moon totaled 166 man-hours of surface exploration, traversing almost 60 miles. They brought back approximately 850 pounds of lunar samples. Sixty major scientific experiments were conducted on the Moon and another 34 were conducted in lunar orbit.
Apollo 10

May 18 - 26, 1969

Apollo 10

Ten lunar landing attempts were originally scheduled, but 3 were cancelled because of cuts in NASA funding.

Total Apollo costs were $25 billion.
"Apollo's a spinoff of technology and materials that is being applied to the betterment of man's everyday life. No other program of technological and scientific exploration ever has been so compelled or perhaps so able to justify its existence on the basis of the immediate tangible and sometimes unrelated benefits it yielded."
- Manned Space Flight - The First Decade, JSC 08062
Apollo 16

April 16 - 27, 1972

Apollo 16

"Any mission turns me on. They are all good and I wouldn't want to play any favorites."
- John Young, 1972

April 12 - 14, 1981

STS - Space Transportation System
Information obtained from

The Space Shuttle plays a leading role in driving current technology-not just in terms of space technology, but for improving our lives here on Earth. In the sustained zero-gravity environment of the Shuttle, scientist-astronauts have been able to conduct life sciences research in a variety of medical disciplines. For example, they've been able to grow protein crystals that are much larger than on Earth, allowing scientists on the ground to better study their structure and makeup to assist in the development of new pharmaceuticals to treat a variety of illnesses.

Earth observation work from the Shuttle and other spacecraft has saved lives through better hurricane tracking. We can also predict other weather patterns, such as the El Nino current, for agricultural planning. Some mineral deposits can be detected from space with instruments carried aboard the Shuttle.


November 28 - December 8, 1983

The post-cold-war "new age" of international cooperation is centered around the space program. We're working productively in a politically non-threatening environment, sharing talents, technology, resources, and dreams of a peaceful future, with east and west together in the "enterprise zone" of space.

More than that, the interactions and working relationships we have established have extended beyond the space program. New economic relationships and resulting growth opportunities have already begun to emerge.

It is estimated that the Space Shuttle alone has created 230,000 new jobs in U.S. private industry and has stimulated people to earn thousands of advanced degrees in the fields of science, technology, business, and communications between the U.S. and other nations. Every tax dollar spent on the space program does up to NINE dollars worth of work for our economy. The space shuttle program carries the highest return on investment of any national program in history. And all four shuttles cost you less than $.01 per day.

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