|Over the United States in the 28th revolution, Conrad used the Agena to lower
the apogee of the orbit. Firing for 23 seconds decreased speed and lowering the
spacecraft. Another mission objective could be stamped "achieved."|
Conrad and Gordon ate a quick meal and began preparations for the next EVA. In revolution 29, above Madagascar, Gordon opened the hatch and watched the sunset. Gordon stood on the spacecraft floor, held down by a short tether. This allowed him to forget about maintaining body position and left both hands free for his tasks. He mounted cameras in brackets without any difficulty. And conducted photographic experiments "Most enjoyable," he said of his two-hour standup period. So relaxed and well oriented was he that the monitoring physicians reported, "From a medical viewpoint, the standup EVA was relatively uneventful."
Passing over the United States the crew marveled at the view of their home area - Houston. They passed quietly across Florida and out over the Atlantic. With the photos taken, the EVA ended and Gordon reentered the capsule. Both astronauts were fatigued, but this time their fatigue stemmed mainly from concentration on an experiment.
The crew rested and discussed the next major mission event - the tethered vehicle exercise.
Over the tracking station in Hawaii, the crew separated the two vehicles. When the tether between them was taut, Conrad rolled the Gemini spacecraft and blipped the thrusters to begin the slow cartwheel motion. A 38-degree-per-minute rotational rate was obtained and remained steady throughout the night side pass and it was then increased to a 55-degree-per-minute rate. This caused a slight artificial "gravitational acceleration" within the capsule, the first time such artificial gravity was demonstrated in space
The second rendezvous in Gemini XI, like the first, took only one orbit. Maneuvers were made and Gemini docked with Agena again. Twelve minutes later, the crew broke away from the Agena for the last time. Conrad later said, "We made the three-foot per second retrograde burn and left the best friend we ever had." Gordon added, "We were sorry to see that Agena go. It was very kind to us."
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