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    Description

    Gemini 9A Flown Gilt over Silver Fliteline Medallion Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Commander Tom Stafford, with His Extensive Signed Letter of Authenticity. This 25mm x 19mm shield-shaped sterling silver medal has the mission insignia on the front which depicts the Gemini spacecraft in rendezvous with an Agena Target Vehicle and a tethered astronaut forming the figure "9", all in front of a large Roman numeral "IX". The reverse gives the surnames of the crew, Cernan and Stafford, as well as the engraved dates of the mission, "June 3-6 1966". Excellent.

    Included with this lot is a signed LOA from Stafford on his letterhead reading, in full: "The medallion enclosed with this letter was carried into space during June 3 through 6, 1966 on the Gemini IX mission. I commanded the flight while rookie astronaut Eugene Cernan served as pilot. The medallion is made of sterling silver and one of the very few that were gold plated. It features the crew emblem on the front and mission dates engraved on the reverse side.

    "Our crew emblem illustrates the objectives of the flight, a docking with an Agena target vehicle and performing a spacewalk. Our Agena never reached orbit on our first launch attempt. Then a computer failure scrubbed the second attempt to reach the new Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA) target vehicle. But the third time was the charm as we finally reached orbit on June 3. Gene's spacewalk proved to be almost as difficult, after his helmet face plate fogged over and he became virtually blind. With some difficulty, he was able to return to the cabin, then we both struggled to close the hatch. We still had a lot to learn about working outside a spacecraft in 1966.

    "Gemini IX was originally assigned to fellow astronauts Elliot See and Charlie Bassett. Unfortunately, they lost their lives in a jet crash on February 28, 1966 at St. Louis, Missouri. They along with Gene and I were traveling to the McDonnell plant that was building the Gemini 9 spacecraft. They flew one T-38 jet while I flew the other with Gene in my back seat. At arrival near St. Louis, the weather had turned very bad with a low cloud ceiling. I was following Elliot's plane in very close formation during our first approach. Once we broke out of the overcast, we could then see that we were too far down the runway to land. Elliot then suddenly banked left and disappeared into the clouds. I tried to follow, but soon lost him. I radioed a wingman missed approach and made the standard right turn. After a holding delay by the tower, I radioed I was running low on fuel, then was cleared to made an instrument approach. After landing, Gene and I learned that Elliot and Charlie had crashed, hitting part of the building were the Gemini spacecraft were being built.

    "Since Gene and I were the back-up crew, we were then assigned the prime crew positions. We never wanted to get the mission assignment this way but the Gemini flight program had to continue. During the Gemini 9 flight we completed a rendezvous with that ATDA target docking vehicle but the protective launch shroud failed to jettison during the ascent to orbit. I called it the "Angry Alligator" because of the jaw shaped appearance of the shroud."


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2018
    1st-3rd Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 515

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