DescriptionGemini 8 Flown Fliteline Gold Plated Medal, obtained by Astronaut Joseph P. Kerwin as a member of the Astronaut Flight Office. The 25 mm medal was flown aboard Gemini 8, which was the world's first orbital docking. The Gemini 8 capsule, still docked to the Agena, began rolling continuously. Never having faced this in simulation, the crew undocked from the Agena. The problem was a stuck thruster on the spacecraft, which now tumbled even faster at the dizzying rate of one revolution per second. The only way to stop the motion was to use the capsule's reentry control thrusters, which meant that Armstrong and Scott had to cut short their mission and make an emergency return to Earth 10 hours after launch. They were still nauseated after splashdown, as well as disappointed: Scott had missed out on a planned space-walk. Onboard Gemini 8 were Neil Armstrong and David Scott.
The obverse of the medal shows the whole spectrum of objectives that were hoped to have been accomplished on Gemini 8. The text at the bottom is comprised of the zodiacal symbol for Gemini and the Roman numeral VIII. The two stars are Castor and Pollux, which are in the constellation of Gemini, and are refracted through a prism to provide the spectrum. The reverse has the date of the flight, March 16, 1966. The reverse also has some discoloration due to packing residue. From the collection of Joseph P. Kerwin, M.D., who has included a signed Letter of Certification verifying its provenance.
(For more information on this topic, be sure to read Howard C. Weinberger's article, The Gemini Fliteline Medals.)
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