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    Description

    Gemini 3 Flown Gilt over Silver Fliteline Medallion Originally from the Personal Collection of Tom Stafford, with His Signed Detailed Letter of Authenticity. This 26mm sterling silver medal flew on America's first two-man space mission on March 23, 1965, along with Gus Grissom and John Young. The obverse features the mission insignia of a space capsule floating in the water with "The Molly Brown" and the crew's full names above and below. The reverse has a struck "GT-3" and an engraved mission date along with the sterling hallmark. Excellent.

    Included with this lot is an interesting signed LOA on Stafford, Burke and Hecker letterhead reading, in full: "The enclosed medallion was carried aboard the Gemini 3 spacecraft on March 23, 1965. This flight was the first manned Gemini mission and completed three orbits of the earth to verify spacecraft performance in the vacuum of space. The medallion is made of sterling silver and one of the very few that were gold plated for this flight. It was presented to me by fellow astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom and John Young after their Gemini 3 flight. It bears the full names of Gus and John with a Gemini spacecraft floating on water called The Molly Brown. The March 23, 1965 mission date is engraved on the back.

    "Back in 1961 when Gus landed in the Atlantic Ocean after the completion of his sub-orbital Mercury flight, some type of short circuit released his side exit hatch. He had to scramble out of the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft and almost drowned due to water entering his space suit. Liberty Bell 7 filled with water and sank. Due to that experience, Gus wanted to name his Gemini 3 spacecraft The Molly Brown, after the 'unsinkable' heroine from the Broadway musical. NASA frowned on the name, but the press corps immediately picked-up the phrase and used it during broadcasts about the mission. Gus would tragically die in the Apollo I spacecraft fire of January 1967 along with astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee.

    "This flight and medallion have a special place in my NASA career. I was selected to be an astronaut in 1962 and started extensive training for Gemini. In early 1964 I was picked to fly the first manned Gemini mission with Alan Shepard in command. Al made the first manned Mercury flight back in May of 1961. During an event at Houston's Rice Hotel in late March 1964, Al told me that he had been suffering from dizzy spells off and on a few months back. When he had his first flight physical for Gemini 3, his situation had not improved and he was grounded, and correspondingly, I was off the flight. Al had Meniere's Syndrome, an inner ear disorder. That grounded him for several years, but he had a successful operation to correct the problem and was able fly and land on the moon as commander of Apollo 14 in 1971.

    "As it turned out, Wally Schirra and I were selected to be the back-up crew for Gemini 3 and then we flew the Gemini 6 flight. Gemini 6 made the first manned space flight rendezvous with Gemini 7 on December 15, 1965. As I look back, I really wanted to be the first to fly in Gemini, but my Gemini 6 flight turned out to be a rewarding challenge and a critical step demonstrating rendezvous techniques which were later used on the Apollo lunar landing flights."


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    9th-11th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 217

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