Black Gemini: Two Stories of the Secret Second Life of America's Second Capsule

Post 0: Introduction and Why Gemini?
Post 0: Introduction

Reading about the history of spaceflight, Gemini stands out as an odd duck. It is a program which post-dates the approval of Apollo as a three-person capsule, and was initially supposed to be a minor upgrade to Mercury. Even the addition of a second seat was something its main designers had to fight for approval on. It had potential for missions like station ferry, early circumlunar flights, and orbital maneuvering, but almost everything it could do, Apollo could do better. Docking? Apollo had a more refined system with a pressurized passage built-in. Crew ferry? Apollo had more volume, managing three crew by design, and as many as five or six before becoming as cramped as Gemini was with two. Circumlunar flybys? It was a little lighter, but Apollo’s abilities were greater, and doable with launch vehicles that were in active development at the time. For a true Gemini-focused lunar program or station program using standard Gemini, you need to do something like what I did in Dawn of the Dragon where developing hardware beyond Gemini, Titan, or early Saturn payload capabilities would be impossible for…whatever hand-waved reasons. Of course, when increased capabilities come up, “Big Gemini” is a natural thing to mention. Being larger, it has more volume, capabilities, and adds a nifty aft pressurized module and docking port, with options for ports even bigger than Apollo. However, for all the love it gets over the years, it’s equally possible to pull the same trick with Apollo, and in the end either larger capsule will have little actually in common with the source vehicle. Structures, propulsion, life support, and a lot more will change leaving basically just a few structural panels. A “Big Gemini” is basically just admitting Gemini isn’t good for much as it was, after all.

But was it not good for much, after all? I think to really make a Gemini timeline work, you need to preserve Gemini roughly as it was, in a mission which works with the craft’s existing capabilities, or those easily derived from it. So what does that take? Well, today, let us try and pitch you on a second chance for America’s second spacecraft. What could justify an ongoing Gemini? What could it do? How long could it last? And what might come from having an undersized, out-of-date tin can continue to fly? Let’s dive into two stories from the untold, unclassified, never-officially-happened story of Black Gemini…

 
Last edited:
Cant wait to see what is coming this time. Just a few days ago i reread Morning of the Maple Leaf and Dawn of the Dragon.

Hope someday we will get to see some more of the Kistler TL.
 
Paint the Gemini capsule black and the Reds will never see this latest and greatest of the USAF's orbital bomber ideas coming against the blackness of space!

...and while almost certainly not true, would anyone really be surprised if the Sixties' USAF made the argument?
 

KAL_9000

Kicked
Paint the Gemini capsule black and the Reds will never see this latest and greatest of the USAF's orbital bomber ideas coming against the blackness of space!

...and while almost certainly not true, would anyone really be surprised if the Sixties' USAF made the argument?
1648740591207.png

Unfortunately for this joke, it was painted black from the very beginning, even in its time with NASA.
 
tumblr_p4wri0LSVv1vzb1n7o1_1280.jpg


"Look, we're happy to fly your Black Gemini ships for you, but you've gotta answer
the important question first: Will they come equipped with corned beef sammiches?"
 
[ Ah: "black" as in covert military -- since this is presumably during the Civil Rights movement I was picturing a separate-but-equal space mission crewed by black astronauts, as some sort of misguided public relations outreach ... ]

[ EDIT and also as an extremely cynical safety-check before sending white astronauts up into the deadly voids of space /:|
 
Last edited:
So, where exactly do you fit atom bombs on a Gemini? Asking for a friend. ;)

All jokes aside, it is great to see another Space TL! Though, I did hope for TL featuring ESA, or at least Europa....

Watched, and with great excitement!
 
Additional information about Black Gemini has now been declassified in the opening post, check it out for information!
 
Top