• Short Summary

    TWO UNITED STATES ASTRONAUTS, WALTER SCHIRRA AND THOMAS STAFFORD, LIVED THROUGH SIXTEEN AGONISING MINUTES YESTERDAY (SUNDAY) WHEN GEMINI SIX FAILED TO TAKE-OFF BECAUSE OF A MALFUNCTION.

  • Description

    TWO UNITED STATES ASTRONAUTS, WALTER SCHIRRA AND THOMAS STAFFORD, LIVED THROUGH SIXTEEN AGONISING MINUTES YESTERDAY (SUNDAY) WHEN GEMINI SIX FAILED TO TAKE-OFF BECAUSE OF A MALFUNCTION. AS THE HUGE ENGINES SHUT DOWN A SECOND AFTER IGNITION, THE TWO MEN HAD A CHOICE. THEY COULD EITHER EJECT THEMSELVES FROM THE CAPSULE ATOP THE ROCKET -- AND THUS ASSURE THEMSELVES OF SAFETY, (BUT PREVENT ANY FURTHER ATTEMPT TO LAUNCH THE GEMINI SIX CRAFT IN THE NEAR FUTURE), OR THEY COULD SIT TIGHT, ON TOP OF 215,000 POUNDS OF FUEL AND A SET OF EXPLOSIVE CHARGES THAT MIGHT EXPLODE.

    GEMINI SIX WAS PLANNED TO RENDEZVOUS IN SPACE WITH GEMINI SEVEN. THE LATTER CAPSULE HAS BEEN ORBITING THE EARTH FOR NINE DAYS -- AND IS DUE TO STAY ALOFT UNTIL SATURDAY. GEMINI CREWS HOPE THAT ANOTHER ATTEMPT MAY BE MADE TO LAUNCH GEMINI SIX ON WEDNESDAY SO THAT THE EXPERIMENT CAN STILL BE CARRIED OUT. DISTANT WITNESSES OF THE ABORTIVE LAUNCHING YESTERDAY WERE ASTRONAUTS FRANK BORMAN AND JAMES LOVELL. AS THEY PASSED HIGH ABOVE THE CAPE KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE THEY REPORTED SEEING A BURST OF SMOKE AS THE GEMINI SIX ENGINES LIT UP.

    MILLIONS OF VIEWERS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES GATHERED AROUND TELEVISION SETS TO WATCH THE ROCKET LAUNCH -- PART OF THE MOST AMBITIOUS UNITED STATES EXPERIMENT IN SPACE SO FAR. THEY SAW THE TWO ASTRONAUTS ENTER THE CAPSULE, THE GANTRY MOVED BACK, AND THEN THE LONG WAIT AS THE COUNT-DOWN PROGRESSED.

    THE ASTRONAUTS WERE IN THE CAPSULE FOR 99 MINUTES BEFORE THEY FINALLY EMERGED. THEY WERE AS ANXIOUS AS EVERYONE ELSE TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAD HAPPENED.

    SPACE EXPERTS EXPLAINED THAT AN ELECTRICAL PLUG -- PART OF THE MALFUNCTION SYSTEM -- HAD DROPPED OUT AND STOPPED THE BLAST-OFF, EVEN THOUGH NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH THE ROCKET. A SERIES OF PHOTO - GRAPHS TAKEN AT THE PAD AT THE MOMENT OF IGNITION ARE BEING EXAMINED SO THAT EXPERTS CAN DECIDE EXACTLY WHY THE PLUG FELL OUT -- A FAULT THAT COST MORE THAN EIGHTY MILLION DOLLARS. THE DEPUTY MISSION DIRECTOR, DR. PRESTON EXPLAINED THAT A HUMAN INTELLIGENCE WOULD NOT HAVE ORDERED THE SHUTDOWN. BUT, HE SAID, THE MALFUNCTION SYSTEM WORKED PROPERLY IN SWITCHING OFF THE ENGINES THE MOMENT A FAULT WAS DETECTED.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVABRQEYH1X7DS2JXN3OREETST6I
    Media URN:
    VLVABRQEYH1X7DS2JXN3OREETST6I
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    13/12/1965
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:41:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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