NASA’s second phase of space exploration was called Project Gemini. Gemini’s ten manned missions flew in 1965 and 1966, successfully demonstrating man’s ability to live and work in space for extended periods of time.
Long-time Outer Banks residents Francis and Gertrude Rogallo patented their wing design in 1951. Courtesy NASA.
Development of the Rogallos' parawing, or paraglider, concept for application during the Gemini program received authorization in 1961. This photograph, taken during a drop test, shows the deployed paraglider with a Gemini boilerplate, or practice, capsule. Courtesy of the Outer Banks History Center, State Archives of North Carolina.
The primary goal of the parawing was to provide astronauts with a controllable landing system. As shown in this illustration by Paul Meltzer, the parawing would have allowed astronauts to make a controlled descent in order to land the capsule on land. Though testing proved the concept was reliable, several factors, including waning funding and intellectual support, prevented the wing's integration into the Gemini and Apollo programs. Courtesy National Geographic Image Collection.
As a NASA engineer, Francis Rogallo lobbied for the wing to replace the parachute landing system used during Project Mercury. NASA pursued the idea during the developmental years of the Gemini program. Here, a NASA technician assists in the testing of the Rogallos' design in 1965 at the Langley Research Center in Virginia. Courtesy of the Outer Banks History Center, State Archives of North Carolina.
Aerial view of the tracking station's campus around 1981, when the facility was transferred to the Department of Defense. Courtesy of Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.
Rosman Tracking Station
Photograph of the construction of the eighty-five-foot-wide dish, or ear, that "listened" for signals from manned and unmanned spacecraft at Rosman. Courtesy of Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.
View of construction underway on the tracking station in Rosman, around 1963. Courtesy of Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library.
Agena Launch Director
From Launch Complex 14, Lt. Col. Allen was responsible for overseeing the launch status of the Agena Target Vehicle, or ATV. The ATV was launched into orbit by an Atlas rocket, as shown here. This ATV was launched on March 16, 1966, for the Gemini 8 flight. Courtesy NASA.
A view of some of the infrastructure of Launch Complex 14, from which the Agena Target Vehicle was launched. The unidentified man is pointing to a visual representation of all the successful launches from the complex. From Mark C. Cleary, The 6555th: Missile and Space Launches Through 1970, 45th Space Wing History Office.