Gemini VIII's Emergency Splashdown 1966Waring Hills Mar 16, 2011
Gemini VIII (8) with astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Young made an emergency splashdown in the Pacific Ocean 500 miles east of Okinawa on 16 March 1966 only 10 hours and 41 minutes after launch from the Kennedy Space Center. The original mission had been to rendezvous and dock with the Gemini Agena target vehicle and conduct EVA operations.
Gemini-VIII successfully docked with Gemini Agena target vehicle 6 hours and 34 minutes after liftoff. However, the crew was forced to undock after approximately 30 minutes. The docked Gemini-Agena combination had begun to encounter increasing yaw and roll rates. Astronaut Armstrong made an emergency undock from Agena, but the roll rate quickened. He then pulled the circuit breakers to the Gemini’s thrusters and only regained control of the spacecraft by using the reentry control system, which prompted an early landing in a secondary landing area in the Pacific.
Watch this excerpt of the “From the Earth to the Moon” miniseries on the Gemini VIII mission and the emergency undock …