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Gemini Program Weather Support

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy set a goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely.  The Gemini program was established to bridge the gap between the single-man Mercury orbital flights and the 3-man lunar missions in the Apollo program.  When the Manned Space Center opened in Houston in 1962, a Weather Bureau office was established to provide spacecraft recovery weather support at the new Mission Control Center. Eventually, the Spaceflight Meteorology Group (the successor to the Project Mercury Weather Support Group) was headquartered at the Manned Spacecraft Center with branches at Houston (recovery operations), Cape Canaveral (pre-launch and launch operations), Suitland and Miami.   The Spaceflight Meteorology Group reported to the Weather Bureau's Space Operations Support Division in Washington.  The Spaceflight Meteorology Group Headquarters and office at Houston were the genesis of today's SMG.

Mission Weather Summary

Mission Launch Date Launch Weather Recovery Date (Duration) Recovery Weather
Gemini 3 3/23/1965 SCT110
Isolated Cu over Cape SC over wather (1)
4  hours
53  minutes
31 seconds
Not Available
Gemini IV 6/03/1965 Not available 6/07/1965
97 hours
56 minutes
12 seconds
SCT010 (2)
Vis:  mm
Temp/Dew:  81F/mmF
Wind: SE/14KTS
Wave Height: 3' Swells 3'
Water Temp: 81F
Gemini V 8/21/1965 2/10 Middle and High Clouds
Calm winds (3)
190 hours
55 minutes
14 seconds
SCT020 (3)
Vis:  mm
Temp/Dew:  83F/mmF (Wet bulb 76)
Wind: 235/08KTS
Wave Height: Sea State 2'
Water Temp: 86F
Gemini-Titan A6
(1st Agena Target)
SCT023 (6)
Vis: 10 Miles
Temp/Dew:  72F/52F
Wind:  010/10KTS
Gemini VI 12/15/1965 SCT110 BKNxxx(CI) (7)
Vis: 7 Mi
Temp/Dew: 68F/67F
Wind:  200/04KTS
25 hours
51 minutes
24 seconds
SCT025 (7)
Vis:  10 Mi
Temp/Dew:  76F/66F
Wind: 040/06KTS
Wave Height: 0' Swells 1-3'
Water Temp: 76F
Gemini VII 12/04/1965 SCT160 OVCxxx(CI) (8)
Vis: 8 Mi
Temp/Dew: 70F/61F
Wind: 340/10KTS
330 hours
35 minutes
31 seconds
SCT020 SCT070 BKNxxx(CI) (8)
Vis:  10 Mi
Temp/Dew:  75F/71F
Wind: 270/17KTS
Wave Height: 2' Swells 3'
Water Temp: 76F
Gemini VIII 3/16/1966 SCT033 BKNxxx(CI) (9)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew:  70F/59F
Wind: 350/18KTS
10 hours
41 minutes
26 seconds
BKN070 (9)
Vis:  15 Mi
Temp/Dew:  71F/mmF (RH 65%)
Wind: 275/02KTS
Wave Height: Swells 5-6'
Water Temp: 78F
Gemini -Titan 9 Agena 5/17/1966 SCT018 BKN050 (10)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew: 82F/69F
Wind: 190/11
N/A N/A (Failed to achieve proper orbit)
GT-9A ATDA 6/1/1966 SCT012 BKN095 OVC140 (11)
Vis: 7 Mi
Temp/Dew: 79F/72F
Wind: 360/04KTS
N/A N/A (Failed to achieve proper orbit)
Gemini IX-A 6/03/1966
SCT035 (12)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew: 77F/58F
Wind: 080/16KTS
72 hours
20 minutes
50 seconds
SCT020 OVC090 (12)
Vis:  "Good"
Temp/Dew:  78F/72F
Wind: 080/13KTS
Wave Height: 2-4'
Water Temp: mmF
Gemini X - Agena 7/18/1966 SCT022 SCT140 OVCxxx(CI) (13)
Vis: 10 Mi TWRG Cu East
Temp/Dew: 84F/74F
Wind: 010/13KTS
Gemini X 7/18/1966 SCTVBKN022 (14)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew: 81F/74F
Wind: 010/12KTS
70 hours
46 minutes
39 seconds
SCT020 OVCxxx (14)
Vis:  15 Mi
Temp/Dew:  86F/mmF (Wet bulb 80)
Wind: 200/08KTS
Wave Height: 2' Swells 3-4'
Water Temp: mmF
Gemini XI - Target 9/12/1966 SCT014 SCT060 BKN140 (15)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew: 79F/75F
Wind: 200/03KTS
Gemini XI 9/12/1966 SCT009 SCT016 BKN130 (16)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew: 81.8F/73F
Wind: 200/03KTS
71 hours
17 minutes
8 seconds
SCT025 (16)
Vis:  8 Mi
Temp/Dew:  76F/66F
Wind: 160/13KTS
Wave Height: 2'
Water Temp: 82F
Gemini XII 11/11/1966 SCTxxx(CI)  (17)
Vis: 10 Mi
Temp/Dew: 76F/66F
Wind: 080/05KTS
94 hours
34 minutes
31 seconds
SCT028 BKN120 (17)
Vis:  10 Mi
Temp/Dew:  78F/71F
Wind: 010/20KTS
Wave Height: 2' Swells 5'
Water Temp: 84F

Significant Events

Total Number of Weather Related Scrubs and Delays:   1 Scrub,  0 Delays.

1 of 10 Missions impacted by weather (10%)
Launch and Recovery concerns: thunderstorms, winds, sea state
Pre-launch preparations affected by lightning and hurricanes

1st mission at MSC.  Weather in Western Pacific Recovery Zones marginal due to Tropical Storms Babe and Carla (2)

1st launch attempt scrubbed due to computer problem, but a thunderstorm was within 1 to 2 miles of the launch pad (4).  Recommend recovery one orbit early due to weather in recovery zone (5).  1 launch scrub & recovery moved due to Hurricane Betsy

Dispersion of Toxics may have been an issue during the launch.  Appears to be point where Houston became SMG and Ken Nagler at Suitland became Chief, Space Operations Support Division.

Mission terminated early. The importance of planning forecast emphasized.  Some difficulty verifying recovery observation due to emergency recovery.  There was a great deal of concern with the wave heights and the crew got seasick while waiting for recovery due to sea state.

1.  "Summary of Spaceflight Meteorology Group's Support of Gemini-Titan 3"
2.  "Gemini-Titan 4 Post Launch Activities (Houston)" Undated  Memo to Head, SMG (Suitland, MD)
3.  "Gemini-Titan 5 Post Launch Activities (Houston)"  2 Sep 1965 Memo to Head, SMG (Suitland, MD)
4.  "Summary of SMG Activities at Kennedy Space Center in support of Gemini Five Manned Spacecraft"  Undated Memo (Ernie Amman)
5.  "Gemini-Titan 5 Report - Miami Section of SMG"
6.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-A6"
7.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-6"
8.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-7"
9.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-8"
10.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-9 Agena"
11.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-9A ATDA"
12.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-9A"
13.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-10 Agena"
14.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-10"
15.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-11 Target"
16.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-11"
17.  "Launch and Recovery Weather Form for GT-12"

Go to the Mercury or Apollo era weather support pages.

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Page last modified: 15 April, 2002