Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gemini Spacecraft Boilerplate

This is a very rare Gemini boilerplate that is a 1:1 scale model of the actual spacecraft. These boilerplates were made to train the astronauts, recovery crews, engineers and others, in all aspects of the Gemini spacecraft. The Gemini missions are often overlooked by many, but it was this program that taught NASA how do orbital mechanics, rendezvous between 2 spacecraft, long term spaceflight, walking in space, working in space and the other skills required to go to the moon and back.

A great website to see what happened to the US spacecraft and boilerplates is http://www.americanspacecraft.com/ .

This Gemini boilerplate is serial number MSC 312, it was used by the 79th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron and it trained the Gemini recovery divers in the N. Calif ocean. It weighs 3500 lbs, it's 8.5' long, the heatshield area is 8' in diameter and I found it in a N. Calif. cemetery. It was common for the Mercury, Gemini & Apollo boilerplate models to be sold for scrap or given to schools or playgrounds, after the program was completed.

I wanted to keep it because it's such a rare artifact, but when I offered it to museums for a loan, nobody was interested, so I ended up selling it. My wife told me that if I bought it home, there better be enough room for a bed, because I would be moving into it. As a result, it's headed to a good home back east.


2 comments:

Jim Loocke said...

You have an awesome collection. I too collect artifacts from the space programs. I bought over 2 tons of hardware mainly Apollo in 1976. I am trying to ID a piece I have from Gemini

Ray Holt said...

Jim,

Please email me at spacecrazy @ verizon.net

Thanks, Ray