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The Epitome of Cool: Neil Armstrong and David Scott, 1966

Neil Armstrong and David Scott in the Gemini VIII capsule, after splashdown, March 16, 1966.  Credit: NASA.

Neil Armstrong and David Scott in the Gemini VIII capsule, after splashdown, March 16, 1966. Credit: NASA.

So, you’ve just endured a harrowing experience where your orbiting spacecraft has gone wildly out of control. You somehow — while undergoing the incredible, vertigo-inducing G-forces of your spinning spacecraft — figure out a plan, undock your spacecraft from another spacecraft and abort your original mission.

Six and a half orbits and ten hours and 44 minutes after you’ve thunderously launched into space, you violently re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and splash down in a pitching ocean. Obviously, you have to throw up, and so does your crewmate. But there’s just one air sickness bag.

But by the time the rescue crew has arrived you’ve donned your sunglasses and look as cool as a cucumber.

That’s Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott’s experience during the Gemini 8 mission.

The epitome of cool.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • meekGee June 13, 2013, 3:54 PM

    Never realized just how small Gemini was.

  • Planemo June 13, 2013, 6:31 PM

    I was half way to 20 years old when this took place. I actually remember these moments. Especially the Apollo missions. The Gemini capsules were built for two like a MGB sports car. So damn tight! Those little capsules survived re-entry at around 2,200 degree F. They were built so thinly in places. It is so amazing they survived space, re-entry, and the H2O splash landings. Amazing engineering, construction, and durability!

    • William Sparrow June 13, 2013, 9:20 PM

      Well said. I was halfway to 10 when this occurred. The first manned space flight I remember was Armstrong walking on the moon. They don’t make men like him anymore, pity.

      • Planemo June 13, 2013, 10:08 PM

        Well, well, well. Welcome back “WILLIAM”! Yes it is a pity. They had brass balls to get into those capsules! Really, I saw a similar capsule when I lived in Orlando at Cape Canaveral. I swear it is just the size of a 2-person MGB cock-pit. Again, welcome back “WILLIAM”. I didn’t expect your reply. I now know why. It is your age. Remember, -peace- and listen to big your brother…lol..lol. ;-)

  • Aqua4U June 13, 2013, 8:25 PM

    Neil Armstrong… the epitome of cool! I too remember that incident – I was 13. Gottcha Planemo, by 3 years! Punk kid…. LOL! ~@; )

    • Planemo June 13, 2013, 10:39 PM

      LOL @ punk kid. …. ok old man!…lol…;-).

      Where’s my t-scope!!?

  • bdlaacmm June 13, 2013, 8:59 PM

    Awesome picture! Shows why NASA chose Neil for the first moon landing. Cool ain’t half of it. this incident, plus his bailout from the failed lander simulator shows that he had the “Right Stuff”!

    • ITSRUF June 14, 2013, 5:44 PM

      Exactly right on all points! Gus would have been first on the Moon, but after Apollo 1, it was unclear who would be first. Team Armstrong up with “Dr. Rendezvous” and Mike Collins and you have the best crew ever (and after Apollo 10, the most experienced.)

      I also like the idea that the first person on the moon was a civilian (retired Navy I think.)

  • ITSRUF June 14, 2013, 11:12 PM

    I noticed that Neil (the command pilot or commander) is in the right seat. Can anyone comment on this? Usually the Cmdr is in the left seat.

  • Moonman June 17, 2013, 9:10 AM

    @ITSRUF: No no, that IS Neil as commander (‘command pilot’) in the left seat – THEIR left, not ours. Dave Scott very sloppily has his elbow on his door. I think you got the facial recognition right, but was simply confused about to whose POV left-and-right referred. Apollo followed the pattern. I don’t know about the Shuttle. Anyway, this Gemini VIII photo has always been one of my faves of space history, up there with the Apollo 12 views visiting the defunct little Surveyor 3 robot on the Moon.

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