GEMINI X -- (July 18-21 1966)
JOHN YOUNG AND MICHAEL COLLINS
One success story from the Gemini program so far, despite all of the problems, was that the space suits and space craft did a good job at protecting the Astronauts from solar radiation. Gemini X pushed the envelope and achieved the set objectives. They managed a hard dock with an Agena.
After docking with their Agena booster in low orbit, Young and Collins used the Agena's rocket to climb another 763.8 kilometers to meet with the dead, drifting Agena left over from the aborted Gemini VIII flight-thus executing the program's first double rendezvous. With no electricity on board the second Agena the rendezvous was accomplished with eyes only - no radar. After the rendezvous, Collins space-walked over to the dormant Agena at the end of a 15.24 meter tether, making Collins the first person to meet another spacecraft in orbit. He retrieved a cosmic dust collecting panel from the side of the Agena, but returned no pictures of his close encounter — in the complicated business of keeping his tether clear of the Gemini and Agena, Collins' Hasselblad camera worked itself free and drifted off into orbit.
Gemini X was designed to achieve the objectives planned for the last two missions — rendezvous, docking and EVA. As well as this it was also hoped to dock with the Agena Target Vehicle from the Gemini 8 mission. This Agena's battery power had failed many months earlier and this would demonstrate the ability to rendezvous with a dormant object. It would be also the first mission to fire the Agena's own rocket, allowing them to reach higher orbits.
After 10 flights, the Gemini program finally placed the United States in the lead over the Soviet Union in manned space flight