Advanced Gemini, What NASA Needs! sign now

Advanced Gemini- What NASA Needs

By Mike Majeski

A few months ago, a study was done by NASA to see if the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM) could be updated and used for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). This study concluded, that with some updates, Apollo could in fact be revived. Now seeing that old designs can still be used, I believe NASA should go even further back into their past and see what other lost spacecraft they could resurrect. A good start would be the Gemini spacecraft. The Gemini spacecraft bridged the gap between Project Mercury and Project Apollo. Without the successes of Project Gemini, the Moon landings would never have been possible. When NASA proposed to bring back the Apollo CSM, many felt that Apollo was too old. Why trust technology that is over thirty years old, so it may seem slightly crazy to even study the possibility of a revival of Gemini. This should not be the case. In fact, Gemini was built two years before Apollo; it is younger and more advanced. This does not mean that NASA can just start launching Gemini spacecraft into orbit again. Gemini will have to be updated with the current technologies. A Gemini II or Advanced Gemini would result. An Advanced Gemini should have some of the properties of the proposed Big Gemini. McDonnell Douglass proposed Big Gemini to NASA and the air force in 1966. It was intended to transport crew of up to 12 and 12 tonnes of payload to the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and a later version of Skylab. The layout of the Advanced Gemini would be modeled off of Big Gemini. There would first be the launch escape tower. Boeing has released images of their plan for a launch escape tower; this plan could be used for Advanced Geminis launch escape tower. Next, a re-entry module made up of a forward compartment for the pilot and copilot and a passenger compartment for the rest of the crew. The forward compartment would be modeled off of the Gemini B spacecraft. There would be an extension to the Gemini B, forming the passenger module. The Big Gemini re-entry module would have twice the crew and cargo capacity of the Apollo CSM, but at the same vehicle mass. The rest of the spacecraft would consist of a retrograde module, which would contain the de-orbit rocket engines, separation rockets, and water and oxygen supplies. Finally there is a cargo/maneuvering module. There would be a pressurized tunnel running from the passenger module to the cargo/maneuvering module, thus allowing transfer of crew and supplies to another spacecraft without an EVA. The docking port would be located on the rear of the spacecraft, and docking would be performed from a console in the cargo module. The docking adapter currently used on the space shuttle would be used with an Advanced Gemini. The cargo/maneuvering module would also include propulsion for orbital maneuvering. An Advanced Gemini could just be an advanced version of the Big Gemini. Whether it would be economical depends on how large of a crew and how much cargo NASA specifies for the CEV requirements.
One of the CEV requirements is clear; the spacecraft must be able to transport astronauts to and from the Moon. Gemini has only flown in Earth orbit, and the same destination was intended for Big Gemini. However, there were plans to use Gemini as the lunar spacecraft. Gemini would dock to a Centaur stage for a circumlunar flight, and could have possibly landed on the Moon by 1966, three years before the first Apollo lunar landing. Today NASA could use Delta or Atlas stages to transport an Advanced Gemini to the Moon, and many of the current CEV plans would not have to be modified. The Gemini capsule was designed to be easily modified and maintained. An updated version is perfectly compatible with todays technology. Gemini would have taken us to the Moon earlier, and it still can get us back today. The studies done are still there, there are still Gemini spacecraft on museum floors to base new designs off of, everything is still available for a Gemini II. NASA need not be afraid of going back to the old designs. Russia still flies the Soyuz spacecraft whose roots go back to the days of Mercury and Gemini. Russia has proven that even though their design is older, it is a proven design. Gemini was a great spacecraft, often described as the pilots spacecraft; a modern version of Gemini would be everything the original Gemini spacecraft was, and more. Sign this petition if you feel that an Advanced Gemini is what NASA needs!

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