1966.03.16 - Gemini Agena target vehicle 5003 systems exercised.
Following the early termination of Gemini VIII, Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) 5003 remained in orbit, where its various systems were extensively exercised. The main engine was fired nine times, four more than required by contract, and 5000 commands were received and executed by the command and communications system, as against a contractural requirement of 1000.
GATV 5003 electrical power was exhausted during the 10th day of orbit and the vehicle could no longer be controlled. Before that, however, all attitude control gas was vented overboard to preclude errant thruster malfunction, and the vehicle was placed into a 220-nautical mile circular decay orbit, one of the secondary objectives of the Gemini VIII mission. This would put GATV 5003 low enough during the Gemini X mission to be inspected by the astronauts.
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