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tv   The Four Days of Gemini 4  CSPAN  June 13, 2015 8:00am-8:31am EDT

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enormous impact on population health. >> dr. patrick o'gara on c-span's q&a. >> each week, reel america brings you archival stories that tell the history of america. 50 years ago, nasa's gemini 4 blasted off from cape canaveral. during the four-day mission, white became the first american to walk in space when he floated outside the capsule for about 21 minutes. this was nasa's 10th manned space mission and the longest american spaceflight to that time. the mission helped america catch up to the soviet union and the so-called space race as
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cosmonauts had performed a spacewalk a few months earlier and stayed in orbit five days in june of 1963. ♪ >> at 4:00 in the morning on june 3, two men arose in florida . they began preparing for their days work as they had since june a year ago. command pilot of gemini 4, and ed white, pilot in the right seat. for the next few hours, they would systematically regress toward launch. the steps were now a normal routine. they had done them again and again. they had practice flying gemini 4 in a simulator. they had practiced emergency aborts.
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they had their temperature and blood pressure taken. one day in st. louis as part of the 1001 things the crew did mcdivitt disassembled the locking mechanism of the hatch. later today, that would become important, but it was now june 3, a year to devoted to a single goal, flying a four-day mission in gemini 4. ♪ >> in america's first long-duration mission, gemini 4 would complete 62 revolutions. the flight class called for it
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to be inserted into orbit at 185 statute miles in altitude over bermuda. people were already adding a new word to their vocabularies -- eva. it stood for extravehicular activity. some were uncertain whether you you said e.v.a. or eva, but regardless of the pronunciation, it would become an abbreviation of our time. the flight plan called for eva to begin on the second orbit and somewhere over hawaii, the pilot was to open the hatch of the depressurized cabinet and stand up. over the west coast of the united states, he would leave the space craft and expose himself to space. for 12 minutes, he would perform maneuvers over the united states. he would return to gemini 4, and continue the mission as the spacecraft entered the night side. this was the flight plan. a special eva suit and pack had been designed and tested by nasa engineers.
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the helmet has three visors -- the inner visor is the normal suit visor that seals and suit pressure. over that are two special visors. they are detachable and need not be worn throughout the entire mission. the sun visor is easily recognized from its gold coding. it reflects both visible light and infrared raised -- infrared rays. there is an inner protective visor made of polycarbonate plastic. the suit has layers of aluminized mylar, nylon, and felt to stop they protect the astronaut against temperature and space particles. special over gloves are worn to guard against extreme of space temperature if the astronaut should leave the spacecraft.
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as the astronaut leaves, he is attached by a supporting umbilical wire 25 elong will -- feet long and will stop it is one assembly consisting of three elements -- a nylon tension line, electoral -- electrical wiring and a tethering that is shorter than the umbilical line. it takes all the loads and can withstand 1000 pounds of pull. it enables the astronaut to have direct communication with the pilot and records medical reading foreground surgeons. the umbilical furnishes oxygen to the suit. the life support pack on the parachute harness contains an emergency oxygen bottle. if the umbilical line should fail, it should support them for nine minutes, more than enough time to return to the spacecraft in an emergency. the pilot also carries a small maneuvering unit, the so-called space gun, designed by nasa
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engineers. it provides a limited amount of thrust from compressed oxygen for basic maneuvering experiments. gemini 4 is counting down on the launchpad. as the count goes into its final two hours, the crew arrives at pad 19. there have been no holds. the weather is good. the astronauts enter the elevator and write it to the room surrounding gemini 4. the crew enters the spacecraft and the hatches are sealed, the -- 7:32 eastern time. the crew is now part of the countdown and begin checking out the spacecraft systems. it is t -100 minutes will stop they continue to clean count interrupted only by faulty erector that did not want to lower properly. that cost some time you -- but presented no real problem. now there is just a spacecraft
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watch vehicle and two men on top of it will stop >> all systems look good at this time. launch control at the cape, t -10 minutes and counting. >> six minutes before launch the spacecraft test conductor signs off with these final words -- " ok, jim, have a good flight." >> 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, ignition -- ignition. liftoff. >> at 10:16, eastern standard time, gemini 4 was on its way. >> we have the role program initiated. >> flight is started and in sync. >> program completed, mcdivitt reports. >> program initiated.
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mark 50 seconds and we are go. guidance reports are go. flight trajectory looks right. >> good on my three. >> gemini 4 is go for staging which will occur in a few seconds. we have staging and it has been confirmed on the ground. >> gemini 4 entered orbit with a velocity of 745 feet per second, within 11 feet per second of planned velocity. the apogee of the first orbit was 177.6 statute miles, the perigee 100.8 statute miles. the command pilot started to
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work, attempting to fly in airplane formation with the second stage of the launch vehicle. the full resources of nasa in houston were on hand to support gemini 4. from a new building, flight controllers assumed direct control of the vision for the first time in the space program. the mission director checks the status of a possible rendezvous. >> it is track with the launch vehicle. >> it is directly below me, four or five feet. >> everything seemed favorable at that time, but as the first orbit progressed, the second stage of the launch vehicle grew away. >> we are out quite a ways from it now and it's taken more fuel than we anticipated. do we make a major effort to close this or do we save the fuel? >> the answer was almost immediate. >> as far as we conserve -- as far as we are concerned, we want to save the fuel.
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we are concerned about the lifetime of that booster. >> ok. >> and that was it -- "ok." the second stage went on to become 1391. it would turn up over the mid-atlantic two days later. >> we have a go for your eva. >> the crew started a checklist for eva, but command pilot mcdivitt elected to go for eva on the third revolution. >> go ahead. >> i don't think we want to try it. >> try it next pass around. >> i think we are happy with that. >> most of the world waited
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100 miles below. the crew completed final preparations and the cabin was was depressurized and hatch was open. coming up on hawaii, mcdivitt reported he was ready to begin eva. >> roger. we are go. he's got some nice elevated rates, which we expected and he really speeded up. let's go. >> used in flight. >> houston flight. >> tell them we are ready to get out when he is. >> we just have word from houston, you get out whenever you are ready. >> we have said go now. >> affirmative. >> get his status. >> my feet are off. i'm dragging a little bit. i'm out. >> he is out.
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>> put a little role in and take it right out. >> i can't see it. >> i will come over to you. i rolled off and i am rolling to the right under my own influence. i'm coming above the spacecraft. i am under my own control. i am coming over. i feel like a million dollars. we're still good. >> let me get over your site can see you for -- so i can see you.
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>> got me upside down. >> make that look pretty. >> i am right by the antenna now. >> i'm getting some tremendous pictures of you. >> i think i have exhausted my air. i have very good control with it, i just needed more air. >> let me take a picture. >> all right. >> it is very easy to maneuver with the gun. the only problem i have is i haven't got enough fuel. i was able to maneuver 00:13:41 -- maneuver myself and back to
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the dock of the adapter. this is the greatest experience. it is just tremendous. right now, i'm standing on my head. looks like we're coming up on the coast of california. slow rotation to the right. no disorientation. >> when he gets out there, it sure does make the spacecraft bump. >> i am dipping down under the spacecraft. there is no difficulty contacting the spacecraft. it's all very soft. particularly as long as you move nice and slow. i feel very thankful to have the experience doing this. i will bring myself in. >> is he taking pictures? >> do you want me to maneuver for you? >> no, -- ed: i think i would
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like to get out and get a picture of the whole spacecraft. jim: you can't seem to get far enough away. ed: it is all the difference in the world with this gun. i was maneuvering all around. jim: we are at 48% on our 02. ed: let me get a picture. >> got about five minutes.
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>> gemini 4, houston. >> the flight rector says get back in. jim: ok. jim: they want you to come back in now. ed: back in? >> roger. ed: coming in. >> you got about four minutes. >> history will record command
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pilot mcdivitt opened the hatch at 2:42 eastern standard time. and along the eastern seaboard they had opened up a new frontier for americans to explore. in 21 and one half minutes, eva was completed. inside, the crew was placed -- the crew was faced with a problem. the hatch would not close. that day mcdivitt took apart the hatch paid off. hatch finally closed. cabin was re-pressurized and the mission settled back into its cycle. the crew was busy with the x-ray equipment. -- with the extra equipment. america settled back in to its daily routine. tv and radio returned to the regular programs. news reporters and editors concentrated on other stories, like their earthbound counterparts, the crew settled down to working, eating and sleeping. but most of us have not flown in orbit. it might seem to men in space have considerable time hanging over them. what is it like? your job is that of a space test pilot. like all test pilots, you must follow a careful routine. each system must be checked out on a planned schedule. you verify your ratings with ground control.
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it goes like this. >> roger. give me your readouts, please for -- give me your readouts please. >> secondary pump off -- radiator looks good. >> ok. >> in the past, and astronaut stuck very close to the basic plan of lying omission and performing the simple experiments permitted. but the four days gave commander mcdivitt add opportunity to work on a scale impossible before. his flight plan included 11 onboard experience -- 11 onboard experiment, and for convenience they may be divided into medical, measurement, and photographic categories. there were three medical experiments. in-flight exercise, in-flight cardiogram, and bone demineralization. five measurement experiences --
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included measurement of the spacecraft that carrier, radiation, spacecraft interior measurement of the electrostatic charge accumulated on the spacecraft exterior, measurement of the direction and amplitude of the earth's magnetic field sextant type navigation for -- navigation study, and finally, there were three photographic experiment stash synoptic weather photography synoptic terrain photography earth limb photography. all 11 experience are important but the photographic experiments are more interesting to us. as gemini 4 swept over africa, it looked down on the ancient 90 delta from 120 miles in space. in a single photograph it caught a view including portions of
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several countries in which many 5 million people live will stop experts identify alexandria dead sea. this is the entrance to the suez. tel aviv and the dead sea with their long historical associations are left screen. to the right, almost parallel, lie the red sea and the gulf of suez. the earth limb or boundary layer of red and blue above the atmosphere was the subject of another experiment. reduced to a grayscale by filters, these photographs will be studied with a micro densitometry or to determine the excess elevation as an aid in space navigation. the experiments were conducted throughout the entire mission and all were completed. on the second day, as gemini 4 came within range of hawaii, everyone was pretty casual. >> i would like to congratulate you on the new american space flight record. >> roger.
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more to go. >> people went to work and returned home. in many parts of the country, it was already summer. cars were headed to the beach. commissioner gemini to live and work in space for four days went on. food has been planned as a working man's ration -- four meals a day, 2600 calories. laid out on the table, it looks a little different from a regular meal -- plastic packages with bite sized meals or freeze-dried food to be constituted with water. but it was good, solid, everyday fare. meat, salmon, chocolate pudding, potatoes and soup. after the first day, the astronauts would only come down with a portion of the last meal left. but sleep in space required an initial adjustment by the group. it was somewhat like sleeping out under field conditions. each astronaut showed different response to the new environment
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and white seemed to sleep more heavily than mcdivitt. during the final two days, mcdivitt took a series of informal and formal motion picture shots mounted at the pilots window. the camera turns inward and for a brief moment, we are able to ride tourist class, watching the crew at work. we catch a glimpse of the space sunrise flaring brilliantly over the earth's horizon. using the same camera, he photographed ground objects, including this small island off the texas coast. on other occasions, he photographed approaches to yuma, arizona. the detail shows great promise for scientific exploration of the earth it for -- hereto for impossible. using this technique, we could chart the current of the ocean and map the geology of the earth.
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shortly after the new ship came in on the fourth day, the first problem arose. the computer did not function. >> be advised, the computer has malfunctioned. >> we will give you an answer when we get one. >> malfunction was pinpointed in the 49th revolution. when it did not clear up, the mission director made a decision -- gemini 4 would go to a rolling reentry. he cleared the command pilot. >> what are your feelings on a role in reentry as opposed to a bank angle? >> why don't we go ahead with it. >> the fourth day and the computer out, but no problem. the flight surgeons made their final checks and both men were busy stowing equipment. it was the 62nd revolution
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coming up on hawaii. the orbital attitude and maneuver fighting -- rockets were fired. television and radio are back again. the nation paused waiting to fly in with the crew of gemini 4. >> give him an eight minute mark to retro fire. >> eight minute mark, one. >> gemini 4 would fly the same type of reentry as gemini 2, an earlier unmanned flight. we will illustrate with film from that flight. this is an onboard camera of gemini 2 looking through a spacecraft window. the film is reproduced at four times normal speed. >> roger, rolling mover. >> roger. still very good, jim. jim: ok. >> communications with the
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ground break off but the onboard tape recorder is running. we listen to two men return to earth after four days in space. >> they are red-hot, jim. sit back and relax. can't do much about it from here. get ready for the gees -- for the g's. >> it's kind of nice to have g's again. >> it is.
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standby. >> it is a good one. >> you are not going to believe me, did that does that parachute look great? >> you are not kidding. >> during reentry, the uss wasp launch aircraft. committee for splashdown at 12:13 eastern standard time. it was cited by a search aircraft seven minutes after splashdown. navy frogman attached the flotation collar and at 12:39, command pilot mcdivitt open the hatch. both men took a deep gulp of fresh air. four days in space had ended. the command pilot requested a pickup by helicopter and in a matter of minutes, the recovery helicopter had the crew safely on board. they were flown to the deck of the wasp. admiral william mccormick, commander of the recovery forces
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offered the first formal congratulations on the flight. the crew walked to the carrier elevator, bound for their physical examination. a long series of physical examinations would follow in the days ahead. the condition of both astronauts was excellent. while the doctors were examining the crew, another group was scrutinizing other data just as closely. the engineers who designed this spacecraft the problems took a and solved the problems took a hard look at what happened. they analyzed miles of coded tape that spelled out each detail of the mission. the results were more than a demonstration of man possibility -- man's ability to go into space and return. gemini 4 was a major events in manned spaceflight operations, the first time two men had spent four days in space. the crew eating, sleeping and working in space demonstrated man can perform a number of functions in the exploration of space in a properly controlled environment and suffered no significant ill effect from extended spaceflight.
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colonel white demonstrated an extravehicular astronaut could travel in a precise manner from point to point. for the first time during an extravehicular activity, the spacecraft was flown with study -- steady control by its command pilot stop colonel mcdivitt -- pilot. colonel mcdivitt performed reentry under manual control further evidence man can circumvent problems which arise by carrying out a primary operation in a straightforward manner. gemini 4 was an encouraging landmark in relation to the future of those the gemini and apollo programs. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> here are some of our featured programs this weekend on the c-span network. on book tv on c-span2, fox news
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contributor kirsten powers, who says although they were once its champions, liberals are now against tolerance and free speech. the former deputy director of the cia on the successes and failures of the agency's were on terror, and the current fight against isis. and tonight at 9:00 15 -- 9:15, richard nixon's supreme court appointments. sunday night at 6:00 p.m., on "american artifacts," newly restored marrows from alabama's kelly take a college -- murals from alabama's teller they get college. get the full schedule at up next on "american history
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tv," a discussion he took some 7000 photographs that captures the experiences of combat soldiers, sometimes processing film it helmets and hate negatives in trees. he served with the 83rd infantry division. he landed at normandy six days after d-day and stayed on after germany's surrender to rebuild -- photograph the rebuilding of the country. we will hear the stories behind his images. this was hosted by the museum of jewish heritage. alex: i would like to say a few words about tony just to , introduce what i would describe as an artist warrior. he is a truly remarkable gentleman. i have met quite a few veterans of world war ii, and not many have spent as long in combat as you, sir. he spent 227 days in combat and


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