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Gemini 4 pp 1-23 | Cite as

Stepping into the void

  • David J. Shayler
Chapter
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Abstract

Almost a century ago, dreams of developing the technique of leaving the spacecraft to perform useful work in open space were inspired by the Soviet ‘Father of Cosmonautics’, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Nearly fifty years later, that same goal was the genesis for undertaking extensive experiments to learn to work in open space, not only on the surface of the Moon but also in low Earth orbit. Half a century after Gemini, that same desire remains, continuing to expand on the pioneering work conducted during that program and the knowledge and capability acquired since then, to support a renewed interest not only in the exploration and exploitation of near-Earth space, but also a return to the Moon, exploration of Mars and investigations of our nearest asteroids. The theories were derived by Tsiolkovsky and others, and the historic spacewalk of Alexei Leonov in March 1965 proved that the concept was possible, but it would be the Gemini missions that would truly encounter and begin to understand the significant experiences, frustrations and difficulties of performing useful work outside a spacecraft. That journey would begin during the first orbits of Gemini 4, but the path which led to Ed White opening the hatch and stepping into void would not be a straightforward one.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Shayler
    • 1
  1. 1.Astronautical HistorianAstro Info Service Ltd.HalesowenUK

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