Gemini 8 Space Mission

Five months earlier, NASA had launched an Agena Target Vehicle for Gemini 6, but the Atlas-Agena launch failed when the Agena’s engine exploded during orbital injection and the mission had to be rescheduled. This time, everything worked perfectly; the Agena put itself into a 298 kilometer circular orbit and oriented itself to the correct attitude for the docking. The Gemini spacecraft itself was launched into a 160 by 272 kilometer orbit by a modified Titan II on March 16, 1966 (coincidentally the 40th anniversary of the launch of the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket by Dr. Robert H. Goddard), at 10:41:02 a. m. EST. Gemini 8’s launch was nominal and no significant anomalies occurred with either the Titan II or the spacecraft.