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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.

Phase Two

Phase Two

On March 24, the next round of space exploits began. The space ship Molly Brown headed for the sky aboard a Titan booster rocket carrying astronauts Major Virgil Grissom and Major John Young. After launching from Cape Kennedy, the Gemini spacecraft went into an elliptical orbit 139.2 miles at apogee and 100.1 miles at perigee.

First two biological experiments were undertaken. The fertility and growth of sea-urchin eggs were checked for the effects of weightlessness, and human blood cells were exposed to the stress of radiation plus weightlessness. Then as Molly Brown curved round the bottom of the globe and came up across the Pacific towards the United States coast, the pilot, Major Grissom, prepared for the first orbital changeover ever undertaken by a spacecraft.

Steering his ship with brief bursts of energy from the appropriate rockets, Major Grissom brought it absolutely level. Then he fired two forward-pointing rockets for precisely 73 seconds. The craft slowed down: the apogee of the orbit dropped by 34 miles. The spacecraft was now in almost circular orbit.

On the second orbit, high over the Indian Ocean Grissom turned his ship 90 degrees to the right. In its new attitude it was circling through the same orbit, but a burst of his rockets moved the space ship about a mile to the south, shifting the orbital plane. After that the pilot turned his ship until it pointed down the track again. While the earth turned below him, he had, in effect, made a right turn, driven a mile, then turned left.

The planned rendezvous with the booster section failed due to lack of fuel in the capsule. The flight gave aeromedical teams much valuable information on reactions of astronauts to long periods of weightlessness.