Major Virgil Grissom and Lieutenant Commander John Young were named Monday (13 April) as the astronaut crew for the first manned Gemini flight.
Major Virgil Grissom and Lieutenant Commander John Young were named Monday (13 April) as the astronaut crew for the first manned Gemini flight. Neigher has ever made an orbital flight. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration hopes to conduct the three-orbit mission, a stepping stone to the moon, by the end of the year.
Major Grissom, who will be the command pilot, flew the second manned Mercury capsule on the 254-mile suborbital trip down the Caribbean on 21 July 1961. His capsule sank shortly after he landed.
Commander Young, named as the second pilot or co-pilot, is one of the newer astronauts. In 1962 he set two records for elapsed time in reaching specified altitudes in a Navy F-4B Phantom jet.
Serving as back-up crew for the first Gemini mission will be Lieutenant Commander Walter Schirra Jr., command pilot, and major Thomas Stafford, second of the primary pilots is grounded for illness or other reasons.
Commander Alan Shepard Jr., who made the first Mercury suborbital flight on 5 May 1961, had been considered a favourite for the command seat on the first Gemini mission. But the space agency disclosed that an ear infection has disqualified him from space flight for the time being.