Project Gemini: 13 days in a cramped seat

I’m finding myself more and more interested in the early US space program. I work in structural engineering using 3D CAD programs to design and build steel and concrete structures. It really impresses me to see how complicated those early rockets and space craft were, and knowing that the design and technical drawings were done by hand, with the need for communication among various contractors. I really can’t believe the organization and man hours that must have been required to keep the project on track.

Anyway, I was reading about Project Gemini, which came after Project Mercury (which worked on getting man into orbit). Gemini, it seems, basically worked out the bugs of doing things once in orbit, such as endurance, maneuvering and docking.

I was reading that Gemini 7 spent almost 14 days in space!

To put into perspective, check out these photos of the craft interior.

Am I seeing that right? Basically just big, metal seats with a 1"(?) vinyl pad? And those seats look to have the ergonomics of a park bench.

This is a pretty mundane and pointless post. I was just struck by the idea of spending two weeks in such a cramped space on such horrible looking seats. Hell, a 6 hour flight has me wanting to claw my way out a plane (and I’m not claustrophobic).

Anyone else have anything interesting to share about the space race, stuff more like “oh, wow!” and not really suited for GQ?

Here’s a book that will interest you. Gave me a whole new respect for astronauts.

Neat photos. I didn’t realize the Gemini craft were stick shifts. Did they have automatics in Apollo? :smiley:

Here’s another photo from that site.

Looking at that gives the sensation of going swimming from a canoe.

“Ya, Houston? No way in hell am I stepping into that void.”

I’m sure it helped that the astronauts weren’t squished down into the seats by gravity for most of those days.

That’s a good point, though the limited room for movement would have still gotten to me after a day. I don’t even want to think about taking a dump in that close a space, with another guy right next to me.

Shakester: thanks! I just ordered in on Kindle.

Here are some threads on Space Race films:

From 2007: The Space Race documentaries/docudramas

Two years later, and I’d bought some of the suggestions: Space documentaries

The space film festival that never happened: The Space Film Film Festival Part 1: Freedom 7

Sorta related, but aviation cramped/endurance rather than space. I suspect these guys were more uncomfortable than the astronauts.

Scroll down to manned endurance refueling. 64 days aloft in a Cessna. The record has held for 50 years.

Pick up A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin. I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down.

Then get the DVDs for From the Earth to the Moon, which was based on Chaikin’s book.

Anyone notice that (probably) the namesake of one of our dopers was listed on that site?