Credit: © Mark Wade
AKA: TDA. Status: Operational 1966. First Launch: 1966-06-01. Last Launch: 1966-06-01. Number: 1 . Gross mass: 794 kg (1,750 lb).
|Gemini 9 ATDA|
Credit: Manufacturer Image
The augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) would serve as an alternative to the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) if efforts to remedy the GATV problem responsible for the October 25 mission abort did not meet the date scheduled for launching Gemini VIII. Additional Details: here....
McDonnell completed final assembly of the augmented target docking adapter (ATDA). Voltage Standing Wave Ratio Tests were conducted January 21 and 22. Systems Assurance Tests were completed January 25, vibration tests January 27. Simulated flight and phasing tests were conducted January 30-February 1. The ATDA was shipped to Cape Kennedy February 4.
The augmented target docking adapter (ATDA) arrived at Cape Kennedy. Modifications, testing, and troubleshooting were completed March 4. The ATDA, which was intended to back up the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV), was then placed in storage (March 8) where it remained until May 17, when the failure of target launch vehicle 5303 prevented GATV 5004 from achieving orbit. The ATDA became the target for Gemini IX-A.
The Gemini 9 mission was scrubbed when the Atlas booster launched from Cape Canaveral failed to place the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) in its planned circular orbit. A malfunction of the number 2 booster engine of the Atlas caused both the Atlas and Agena to fall into the ocean. The Gemini 9-Atlas/Agena mission was later rescheduled to 1 June using the Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA).
The first and only Atlas/Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA) Gemini Agena (#5304) was launched from the Eastern Test Range as part of the Gemini 9 mission. The ATDA was a back-up for the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) and similar to it except that it lacked the capability to maneuver in space. The ATDA achieved a near-circular orbit (apogee 161.5, perigee 158.5 nautical miles). One hour and 40 minutes later, the scheduled launch of Gemini IX-A was postponed by a ground equipment failure which prevented the transfer of updating information from Cape Kennedy mission control center to the spacecraft computer. The mission was recycled for launch on June 3, following a prepared 48-hour recycle plan. Anomalous telemetry indicated some sort of problem with the target, but it was not until Gemini IX rendezvoused with it in orbit that it was seen that fairing separation had failed.