USA 1965 Gemini 6A

Gemini 6A (GT-6A), an alternate mission of Gemini 6, was launched on December 15, 1965. It was crewed by Walter M. Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford.

Gemini 6 scrubbed mission, a rare cover with KSC cachet postmarked on 25 Oct 1965.


Gemini 6 was originally planned to rendezvous with an Agena target rocket - an unmanned rocket which was launched solely as a "target" for the manned mission to meet and dock with in Earth orbit. Due to a technical failure during the launch of the Agena rocket, the mission was cancelled. The plan was changed to bring forward the launch of Gemini 7, and to allow Gemini 6A to rendezvous in Earth orbit with it. Schirra performed the space rendezvous with Gemini 7 spacecraft in orbit. Once in formation, the two Gemini capsules flew around each other, coming within a foot (0.3 meter) of each other but never touching. The two spacecraft stayed in close proximity for five hours.

Gemini 6A "Orbit Covers" cancelled on launch day at Cape Canaveral, signed by Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford.

Gemini 6A Centennial cachet.

 
Gemini 6A KSC cachets.

Gemini 6A captain's cover with hand cancel.

This was an important step in the programme to land man on the moon, as it was the first time the Americans had made a rendezvous of two manned craft in space. By doing this, valuable data and experience were gained which would be used when attempting to rendezvous and dock a Lunar Module with an Apollo Command Module.

A rare, unnumbered Beck printed cachet cover for Gemini 6A PRS USS Wasp, signed by Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford.

Gemini 6A primary recovery ship USS Wasp hand cancel, signed by the Air Boss captain David Barksdale.

Gemini 6A primary recovery ship USS Wasp machine cancel with "AM" time slug, signed by the Air Boss captain David Barksdale.

Gemini 6A primary recovery ship USS Wasp ship's cachet, signed by the Deputy Mission Director for Launch Operations, G. Merritt Preston.

Gemini 6A primary recovery ship USS Wasp machine cancel with inverted year (autopen signature Walter Schirra).