Project Gemini was the second human spaceflight program of NASA, the civilian space agency of the United States government. Project Gemini was conducted between Projects Mercury and Apollo, with ten manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966.
Its objective was to develop techniques for advanced space travel, notably those necessary for Apollo, whose objective was to land humans on the Moon. Gemini missions included missions long enough for a trip to the Moon and back, the first American spacewalks, and new orbital maneuvers including rendezvous and docking. All manned Gemini flights were launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida atop Titan II GLV boosters.
Gemini's primary difference from Mercury was that the earlier spacecraft had all systems other than the reentry rockets situated within the capsule, most of which were accessed through the astronaut's hatchway. In contrast, Gemini housed power, propulsion, and life support systems in a detachable Equipment Module located behind the Reentry Module, which made it similar to the Apollo Command/Service Module design. Many components in the capsule itself were reachable through their own small access doors.
The original intention was for Gemini to land on solid ground instead of at sea, using a Rogallo wing paraglider rather than a parachute, with the crew seated upright controlling the forward motion of the craft. To facilitate this, the paraglider did not attach just to the nose of the craft, but to an additional attachment point for balance near the heat shield. This cord was covered by a strip of metal which ran between the twin hatches. However, this design was ultimately dropped, and parachutes were used to make a sea landing as in Project Mercury. However, the capsule was suspended at an angle closer to horizontal, so that a side of the heat shield contacted the water first. This eliminated the need for the landing bag cushion used in the Mercury capsule.