It is probably one of the least understood, but most crucial, (in terms of landing a man on the Moon) programs in U.S. space flight history. After just fifteen minutes in space (and all of it sub-orbital) President John F. Kennedy tasked NASA with sending astronauts to the lunar surface. NASA completed the Mercury Program and moved on to Gemini, which had a crew of two and would work to teach NASA the most basic elements of space flight.
Extravehicular activity (EVA), rendezvous and dealing with the microgravity environment were all issues tackled by NASA on the Gemini Program. Gemini was essentially NASA’s “classroom” – teaching the space agency the lessons needed to fly to the Moon.
Most books on Gemini follow the basic path, an overall of all spaceflight efforts and then a chronological history of the program and how it taught NASA how to live and work in space. Two into the Blue – breaks from this mold and tells the Gemini story from one engineer’s perspective, sharing along the way his thoughts and feelings during this time.
Two into the Blue is written by Robert L. Adcock, published by Xlibris Corp and weighs in at a light 142 pages. Adcock worked for about 36 years within the Aerospace Industry, his earliest experiences coincided with the development of rockets and the spacecraft that were among the first that the U.S. sent into orbit. Adcock grew up in Tennessee, graduated from the University with a BSEE and followed with a Doctorate in Business Administration that he received from Florida State in 1977.
Two into the Blue details Adcock’s experiences during this crucial time for the U.S. space program. The book is largely written from his perspective, telling his experiences during NASA’s Gemini years. Given that most books discussing the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Programs are essentially identical in format makes Two into the Blue a welcome departure with new details and fresh stories. Adcock participated in some capacity every one of the Gemini Program’s ten flights.
Each of the Gemini missions was dedicated to techniques that would pave the way for the Apollo flights to the Moon. Without the Gemini series of missions, NASA would never have been able to learn all of the techniques needed to send a man to the Moon and return him safely to the Earth. Despite its vital role, Gemini is largely forgotten by most of the general public today. With NASA’s current future uncertain, this book allows one to look back to a time when the U.S. crewed space flight program’s future was bright.
Two into the Blue is a short read, but it is a great book for someone preparing to take a trip and who will be stuck in an airport or in a car. It’s also great for space enthusiasts seeking to find out more about the Gemini Program and the history that surrounded these important missions.