Encyclopedia Astronautica
1963.11.13 - Gemini launch schedules reexamined.


The Gemini Management Panel, after reviewing the status of spacecraft and launch vehicle, decided that Gemini launch schedules need reexamination, especially the amount of testing at Cape Canaveral necessary to establish confidence in mission success.

The panel directed Gemini Project Manager Charles W Mathews and Colonel Richard C Dineen, Chief, Gemini Launch Vehicle, Air Force Space Systems Division, to form an ad hoc group to make an intensive 30-day study of work plans and schedules, with the goal of achieving manned flight in 1964. The next day (November 24), NASA, Air Force, and industry program managers met at Cape to lay out study areas and then met at 10-day intervals to develop ground rules, review progress, and coordinate their efforts. Mathews reported the results of the study at the next panel meeting, December 13, and described the ground rules that might bring Gemini-Titan (GT) 3, the first manned flight, to a 1964 launch. The primary factory affecting the spacecraft would be reducing Cape duplication of tests already accomplished at McDonnell and integrating the entire test effort. Although integration of launch vehicle testing at the Cape and Martin was already fairly good, there was still room for improvement. The master schedule that emerged from this study showed the following launches: GT-1, March 17, 1964; GT-2, August 11; and GT-3, November 6. GT-1A was strictly a backup, to be flown only if GT-1 failed.

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