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SLAS Regular Meeting
May 16
7:30 pm

Rendezvous In Space: Building The Gemini Spacecraft


Nelson Weber
Aerospace Engineer, retired
McDonnell Corporation

Ten successful manned Gemini spacecraft, each with two astronauts aboard, were launched by NASA between March 1965 and November 1966. The Gemini missions played a major part of the race to the Moon that culminated in six successful Apollo lunar landing missions during 1969 to 1972. The Gemini spacecraft were designed to develop U.S. capability for longer duration spaceflight, rendezvous and docking in orbit, and safe and precise re-entry on the return from orbit. They were built by the Saint Louis-based McDonnell Corporation.

Nelson Weber worked on the fuel cell system, which provided the electrical power for the spacecraft. He was part of the engineering team that designed and perfected this first maneuverable spacecraft of the NASA fleet. Mr. Weber also worked with the Skylab orbiting spacelab program, after the conclusion of the lunar landings. He will relate, from an insider?s point of view, what it was like to be in the middle of the Space Race. Mr. Weber retired from McDonnell Douglas in 1994 to become a consultant for aerospace engineering projects of commercial and military industry.

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