2021 marks 60 years since NASA's Project Mercury got underway. A series of single-person spaceflights - the first of their kind for the agency - it aimed to prove whether the most basic human functions were possible in space. Could a human eat and drink in zero gravity? Could they sleep? Could they even survive?
Gemini 6A is best known for achieving the first ever rendezvous in space, a key stepping stone in the journey to the Moon. That wasn't the only 'first' it achieved, though.
"It's your neck, and I hope you don't break it." Apollo 7 is often overlooked in the grand scheme of things, with no technological dramas to speak of. When it came to the crew, though, things were not so cleanly cut.
Gemini 7 was a mission no one was really that keen to fly. The idea of having to spend two weeks crammed into a cabin no bigger than the front seats of a hatchback, unable to stand up or even move around and in extremely close proximity with another person, was really not very appealing. Unfortunately for Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, they were the unlucky duo selected to fly it.
NASA's hopes of landing on the Moon hinged on Gemini 6A's Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford proving that rendezvous with another spacecraft was possible. It took NASA three attempts to launch the astronauts, though, with one coming very close to disaster.