American astronauts Walter Schirra and Frank Borman have seen most of the world from an altitude of 150 miles while circling in their Gemini-6 space capsule.
American astronauts Walter Schirra and Frank Borman have seen most of the world from an altitude of 150 miles while circling in their Gemini-6 space capsule. Now, they're getting a closer look of eight Asian nations during a good-will tour.
When the astronauts landed in Taiwan with their wives and an entourage of U.S. space officials, they told the Chinese welcoming party they could clearly see the beautiful island from the portholes of their Gemini capsule. Several thousand people turned out at the Taipei airport to greet Captain Schirra and Lieutenant Colonel Borman. Local officials presented them with a golden key to the capital city of free China. Taipei is the sister city to Houston, Schirra's home town, and he was also given a set of memorial coins marking the 100th anniversary, this year, of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the found of the Chinese Republic.
The astronauts spoke to 8,000 Chinese college students -- explaining the peaceful purposes of U.S. space exploration -- and congratulated Chinese scientists for contributions in space work.
President Chiang Kai-shek received the Schirras and the Bormans and praised the men for their achievement in the rendezvous in space last December. They presented him with a photo of that monumental maneuver and then a presidential aide pinned a "flying wing" of the free Chinese Air Force on the astronauts. President Chiang reminisced with Mrs. Schirra about the three years she had attended the American school in Shanghai back in the 1940s.
Schirra and Borman had two other gifts for the free Chinese -- a small Chinese national flag they had actually carried on the Gemini-6 flight and a model of the spacecraft.