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Gemini 8 Crashes by Steve Payne, Eric Oppen & Joel Bader

Author says: what if the Gemini 8 space mission with Neil Armstrong and David Scott on-board disintegrated after spinning out of control and was lost? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

President John F. Kennedy paid tribute to Neil Armstrong and David Scott in a televised speech to the nation which re-affirmed the goal of landing on the moon during this decade. Yet the tragic loss of the Gemini 8 astronauts forced a return to the X-15 space plane concept, delaying the program by five years.

Gemini 8 was the sixth manned spaceflight in NASA's program, but the first to attempt the docking of two spacecraft in orbit. And the first critical in-space system failure led to a disintegration after the spacecraft spun out of control, and was then lost as were the lives of the two astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott.

"The failure of the Git might cause men to rethink the cancelled X-15b program in which an X-15 would be mounted on a missile and launhed skyward. Perhaps the shuttle's development would be moved forward by at least from that point forward. Might even excellerate things" - readers commentgena attitude system was acting up and might not have the correct program stored in it. Just before they went off contact with the ground, the crew of Gemini 8 were informed that if anything strange were to happen, they were to turn off the Agena. After Scott had instructed the Agena to turn them 90 to the right, he noticed that they were in a roll. Armstrong used the Gemini's Orbit Attitude and Maneuvering System (OAMS) to stop the roll, but the moment he stopped using the thrusters, it started again. They immediately turned off the Agena and this seemed to stop the problem for a few minutes. Then suddenly it started again.

Scott noticed that the Gemini attitude fuel had dropped to 30% indicating that it was a problem on their own spacecraft. They would have to undock. After transferring control of the Agena back to the ground they undocked and with a long burst of translation thrusters moved away from the Agena.

It was at that point that the Gemini spacecraft began to roll even faster, and approached one revolution per second. The astronauts were now in danger of impaired vision and loss of consciousness due to the violent motion. At this point Armstrong tried to shut down the OAMS and used the Re-entry Control System reaction control system (RCS) to stop the spin, but unfortunately he failed to execute.

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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