Encyclopedia Astronautica
Gemini Ferry

Gemini Ferry
Drawing of Gemini Ferry in flight.
Credit: McDonnell-Douglas
American manned spacecraft. Study 1963. The Gemini Ferry vehicle would have been launched by Titan 3M for space station replenishment.

A MOL-type hatch in the heat shield would allow the crew to enter the space station through an Apollo-type probe and drogue hatch at the base of the spacecraft - a design very like the Soviet TKS. Much shorter than the MOL, the cargo module could be left attached to the station and the reentry vehicle return to earth on its own.

In 1962 NASA funded studies with several contractors on Operations and Logistics for Space Stations. McDonnell's study was dated 20 March 1963 and proposed three alternatives, all of which could be boosted by either a Titan 3M or Saturn IB Launch Vehicle, and all of which would be equipped with aft-mounted docking systems:

  • Two-crew Gemini, relatively unmodified, with a cargo module
  • Modified Gemini with a stretched re-entry vehicle (later fully developed into the Big-Gemini)
  • New winged spaceplane, capable of accommodating two crew plus four passengers


Crew Size: 2. Habitable Volume: 2.55 m3.

Gross mass: 15,590 kg (34,370 lb).
Payload: 9,090 kg (20,040 lb).
Height: 8.30 m (27.20 ft).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
See also
  • Gemini The Gusmobile could have conquered space - faster, better cheaper. An endless number of Gemini derivatives would have performed tasks in earth orbit, and flown around and landed on the moon. Could the US have won the moon and space station races at a fraction of the expense? Browse through the many might-have-been Geminis! More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • Titan 3M American orbital launch vehicle. Man-rated launch vehicle designed for MOL and other missions of the 1970's. Malfunction Detection System initiated abort procedures during launch. Also suited for launch of 'bulbous and lifting body payloads'. 7 segment UA1207 motors developed but not used until Titan 4 in 1990's. Cancelled with MOL program in 1969. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • McDonnell American manufacturer of spacecraft. McDonnell, St Louis, USA. More...

  • Big G, Briefing, McDonnell Douglas, 20 December 1967.
  • Advanced Gemini Spacecraft, Briefing, McDonnell Douglas, ca. 1967.
  • Marks, C D and Quest, R G, "Low Cost Orbital Transportation: How Big A Step!", AAS Science and Technology Series, Vol. 21, 1969.

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