Today in 1965: The Gemini IV capsule carrying astronauts James McDivitt and Ed White returned to Earth after a 62-orbit mission. After recovery of the capsule, McDivitt and White talked to President Lyndon B. Johnson via telephone while aboard the U.S.S. Wasp. Johnson congratulated them on a successful mission, which included experiments like taking photographs of the Earth for geographic, oceanographic and geologic studies, as well as the first U.S. spacewalk.
Today in 1965: Astronaut Edward H. White II became the first American to perform a "spacewalk." White did so during the four-day Gemini IV mission. Gemini IV was the second of ten piloted Gemini missions, which perfected the techniques of spacecraft rendezvous and docking, and demonstrated that astronauts could withstand prolonged weightlessness for the planned Apollo missions to the Moon.
Today in 1966: Surveyor 1 made a soft landing on the Moon, becoming the first U.S. spacecraft to do so. The Surveyor series was designed to carry out soft landings on the Moon and provide data about its surface and possible atmosphere. The artifact pictured here is an engineering model used for thermal control tests