November 4, 2005

Kansas Cosmosphere to Restore Gemini Craft

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Thirty-nine years after its only trip to space, the Gemini XII will be restored over the next three months at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

The spacecraft that carried astronauts Jim Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin on a November 1966 mission arrived in Hutchinson this week.

Restoration officials said despite some deterioration and corrosion, the Gemini is in good shape.

"This is pretty much the condition it was when it became the Smithsonian's property in the late 1970s," said Jim Remar, vice president of museum operations for the Cosmosphere.

Remar said the first step will be removing the cover and taking an inventory of the spacecraft's parts and condition. The Cosmosphere previously restored the Gemini VI and Gemini X.

"They're all unique," Cosmosphere technical director Jack Graber said. "Some are more complete than others. You can see what changed from capsule to capsule, what NASA decided to do differently and how they changed what they thought would be better."

The Smithsonian Institution owns the spacecraft, which will go on display at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago after being restored.