NASA named the program GEMINI after the twin stars Castor and Pollux, one of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac.
Alex Nagy of NASA headquarters suggested the name.
"The Twins" did an excellent job of symbolizing the two-man crews on each flight.
Its spheres of influence include adaptability and mobility, two features the spacecraft designers pursued.
The Gemini missions had the following challenges to meet before attempting lunar missions:
- Rendezvous and docking
- Long duration flights
- Multiple-hour work outside the spacecraft
- Advanced, reliable on-board flight systems
- Training of flight and ground crews.
During the Gemini Program, the United States caught up with and surpassed the Soviet Union in the race to the Moon.*
*From NASA "On The Shoulders of Titans, A History of Project Gemini"
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