Gemini B Retro Adapter Photos









The photos (below) are of an engineering mock-up of a retro rocket adapter module for a Gemini B spacecraft, which was intended for use with the USAF (Manned Orbiting Laboratory). They were taken at a storage yard at the US Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, Alabama) on July 17, 2016. The Gemini B, a modified version of the Gemini spacecraft, would have been employed to return the MOL astronauts to earth after the completion of their missions. The Gemini B was unique in that it had a circular hatch cut through its heat shield to allow the astronauts to enter the MOL after they reached orbit, and also was fitted with six retrorockets rather than four retrorockets on a standard NASA Gemini. This retro adapter module is a significant historic item, in that virtually no major hardware survived following the MOL program’s cancellation in June 1969, other than two Gemini B spacecraft on display at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum at Cape Canaveral and the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The first three images (including the one to the left) depict a full-scale Gemini B “ECV” engineering model, circa 1967. The MOL astronauts would have travelled to orbit in the Gemini B, and then transitioned to the MOL cabin via the tunnel that passed through the retrorocket adapter module. All images (except for the first three) copyright Mike Jenne, 2016.