Gemini Simulator and Neil Armstrong




Astronaut Neil Armstrong (left) was one of 14 astronauts, 8 NASA test pilots, and 2 McDonnell test pilots who took part in simulator studies. Armstrong was the first astronaut to participate (November 6, 1963). A.W. Vogeley described the simulator in his paper "Discussion of Existing and Planned Simulators For Space Research," "Many of the astronauts have flown this simulator in support of the Gemini studies and they, without exception, appreciated the realism of the visual scene. The simulator has also been used in the development of pilot techniques to handle certain jet malfunctions in order that aborts could be avoided. In these situations large attitude changes are sometimes necessary and the false motion cues that were generated due to earth gravity were somewhat objectionable; however, the pilots were readily able to overlook these false motion cues in favor of the visual realism." Roy F. Brissenden, noted in his paper "Initial Operations with Langley's Rendezvous Docking Facility," "The basic Gemini control studies developed the necessary techniques and demonstrated the ability of human pilots to perform final space docking with the specified Gemini-Agena systems using only visual references. ... Results... showed that trained astronauts can effect the docking with direct acceleration control and even with jet malfunctions as long as good visual conditions exist.... Probably more important than data results was the early confidence that the astronauts themselves gained in their ability to perform the maneuver in the ultimate flight mission." Francis B. Smith, noted in his paper "Simulators for Manned Space Research," "Some major areas of interest in these flights were fuel requirements, docking accuracies, the development of visual aids to assist alignment of the vehicles, and investigation of alternate control techniques with partial failure modes. However, the familiarization and confidence developed by the astronaut through flying and safely docking the simulator during these tests was one of the major contributions. For example, it was found that fuel used in docking from 200 feet typically dropped from about 20 pounds to 7 pounds after an astronaut had made a few training flights." -- Published in Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood, On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini, NASA SP-4203; A.W. Vogeley, "Discussion of Existing and Planned Simulators For Space Research," Paper presented at the Conference on the Role of Simulation in Space Technology, August 17-21, 1964; Roy F. Brissenden, "Initial Operations with Langley's Rendezvous Docking Facility," Langley Working Paper, LWP-21, 1964; Francis B. Smith, "Simulators for Manned Space Research," Paper presented at the 1966 IEEE International convention, March 21-25, 1966.

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  • Title: Gemini Simulator and Neil Armstrong
  • Creator: NASA
  • Date Created: 1963-11-06
  • Location: NASA Langley Research Center
  • Rights: LRC
  • Album: thornbuc