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Presented here are examples of Gemini spacecraft heatshield presentations that were created in the shape of a capsule.

The capsule manufacturer McDonnell Aircraft (St. Louis) created these heatshield presentions for astronauts and a few select VIPs involved with the program. Post-flight, engineering teams took samples from the heatshield for analysis and once this process was completed, several presentations were made. Further information on the heatshield core sample process can be found here in the Gemini information section.

Two distinct styles exist: smooth and detailed as shown in the diagram below. Smooth capsules represent the overall silhouette of the manned portion of the Gemini spacecraft, with two small indentations representing windows. Detailed capsules also include the retrograde section (aft of manned section) and significant features sculpted into the outer surface. Smooth capsules originally came with a hand crafted wood base, which is sometimes missing or damaged. Detailed capsules have several different base configurations for Gemini 8; for Gemini 11 they probably all had similarly designed wood base as smooth capsule presentations.

The vast majority of presentations sold at auction or reside in museums originate from the collections of astronauts or McDonnell employess. For smooth capsules, it is estimated that as few as 4 or as many as 10 presentations were created for each flight. Detailed capsules have only been observed for Gemini 8 and 11. Since Gemini 8's entire heatshield was removed post-flight, it is not surprising to see more from this mission than any other. Only one Gemini 11 detailed capsule has been seen with a heatshield section encased, the others are painted like models and it is not known if any heatshield is embedded.

A sub-set are those presentations containing an original crew patch mounted between the acrylic and wood base. Presentations for Gemini 12 contain a flown crew patch as engraved into the acrylic. It is presumed that the mission patches for Gemini 7 and 11 were also flown on-board but this not-known for certain at this point in time. The Gemini 8 mission patches are a common souvenir version and were not flown.

These displays are prone to damage and detoriation if not handled with care. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight, high temperatures, and humidity extremes to protect against acrylic yellowing and wood veneer cracking. The stems are fragile and can break or crack easily. This issue was addressed begining with several of the displays for Gemini 6. A thicker, gold colored, reinforced (knurled) stem was introduced replacing the slimmer, silver type. This reinforced design was used exclusively for the remainder of the program (GT-7 through GT-12). The acrylic base slides tightly into a cutout in the wood base (not glued originally), lifting should be done using the base instead of the capsule portion.

As there is no prior comprehensive guide, these photos and tables are intended to encourge further discussion with periodic site updates as new information is discovered and reviewed.

Futher discussions about the various types of heatshield acrylics can be found on collectSPACE.

Please feel free to send in photos of presentations you've seen that are not represented here for inclusion in the archive.

MissionTotal Observed (Smooth)Total Observed (Detailed)
Gemini-34None
Gemini-4NoneNone
Gemini-5NoneNone
Gemini-63None
Gemini-73None
Gemini-898
Gemini-91None
Gemini-10NoneNone
Gemini-1154
Gemini-129None
MissionAstronaut Owned
(Smooth)
Gemini-3Young (2)
Gemini-6Schirra (1)
Gemini-7Lovell (1)
Gemini-8Armstrong (6)
Gemini-9Cernan (1)
Gemini-11Conrad (1)
Gemini-12Lovell (4)
Gemini-12Aldrin (2)
MissionWith Patch (Smooth)No Patch (Smooth)
Gemini-712
Gemini-1124
Gemini-1272
MissionWith Patch (Detailed)No Patch (Detailed)
Gemini-827
Gemini-1103


These photos show several of the Gemini astronauts in their homes with heatshield capsule presentations on display, click each image to enlarge.

John Young, Gemini 3 & 10
 
Wally Schirra, Gemini 6A
 
Neil Armstrong, Gemini 8
 
Marilyn Lovell at home during Apollo 13, Jim Lovell Gemini 7 & 12


Gemini 3

Gus Grisson
John Young
 
  • Heritage Auctions [Apr. 1, 2009]
  • From Young family, signed
  • Black filled text
 
  • Heritage Auctions [Oct. 8, 2009]
  • From Young family, signed
  • Broken stem
 
  • Heritage Auctions [Nov. 14, 2019]
  • From McDonnell employee
  • Black filled text
  • Cracked stem
 
  • Regency-Superior [?]
  • Wood base missing
  • Black filled text
Gemini 4

Jim McDivitt
Ed White
No capsule shaped presentations observed.
Gemini 5

Gordon Cooper
Pete Conrad
No capsule shaped presentations observed.
Gemini 6A

Wally Schirra
Tom Stafford

  • Swann Galleries [Mar. 18, 2006]
  • Wood base missing
  • Broken stem
 
  • Heritage Auctions [Nov. 30, 2011]
  • Reinforced stem design
 
  • RR Auction [May 22, 2014]
  • Reinforced stem design
  • From Wally Schirra
     
  • eBay Auction [Apr. 18, 2020]
  • Cracked stem
Gemini 7

Jim Lovell
Frank Borman
 
  • w/ Crew Patch
  • History TBD

  • Jim Lovell Collection
  • On display at Lovell's of Lake Forest, Chicago, IL

  • From McDonnell employee


First Rendezvous

Gemini 7

Gemini 6A
Presentation with two capsules reported to exist, no photos availible.
Gemini 8

Neil Armstrong
David Scott


  • Regency-Superior [May 2, 2008]
     
  • Heritage Auctions [Oct. 7, 2008]
  • Wood base missing

  • eBay Auction [Aug. 30, 2009]
     
  • Heritage Auctions [Nov. 1, 2018]
  • w/ "Presented To Lockheed Missiles & Space Co."
  • From Neil Armstrong collection
  • COA from Amrstrong Sons (Rick & Mark)
     
  • Heritage Auctions [May 9, 2019]
  • From Neil Armstrong collection
  • COA from Amrstrong Sons (Rick & Mark)
 
  • Heritage Auctions [Nov. 14, 2019]
  • From Neil Armstrong to his parents
  • COA from Dean Armstrong
 


   
Gemini 9A

Tom Stafford
Gene Cernan

Gemini 10

John Young
Michael Collins
No capsule shaped presentations observed.
Gemini 11

Pete Conrad
Richard Gordon
     
  • History TBD
  • w/ Crew Patch
  • Wood base missing
 
  • History TBD
  • w/ Crew Patch

  • Odyssey Auctions [Feb. 27, 1994]
  • Regency-Superior [Fall 1999]
  • From Pete Conrad

  • History TBD
  • Black background surrounding text

  • History TBD
Gemini 12

Jim Lovell
Buzz Aldrin
   
  • Heritage Auctions [May 19, 2017]
  • From Jim Lovell to Aunt Jean (Lovell) & Uncle Leon Coleman
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch
 
  • Heritage Auctions [Nov. 14, 2019]
  • From McDonnell employee
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch
  • Acrylic crazing in corners

  • Charles Stark Draper Collection
  • In storage at MIT Museum
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch (inverted inside base)

  • Jim Lovell Collection
  • On display at Lovell's of Lake Forest, Chicago, IL
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch

  • Buzz Aldrin Collection
  • Photographed at family home
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch
 
  • History TBD
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch
 
  • Gift from Jim Lovell to museum
  • On display at Alder Planetarium, Chicago, IL
  • w/ Flown Crew Patch

  • Heritage Auctions [Apr. 1, 2009]
  • From Jim Lovell, Signed
  • Wood veneer is cracking
 
  • Heritage Auctions [May 10, 2019]
  • From Buzz Aldrin to wife's family


Gemini 8

Neil Armstrong
David Scott
   
  • eBay Auction [Dec. 16, 2006]
  • Souvenir patch not flown
  • Desk pen set, pens missing

  • Regencey-Superior [Apr. 19, 2007]
  • As designed acrylic is not attached to base
  • Rests on green felt, no stem attachments
  • Note: At least one more of this style exists but missing its base


  • eBay Auction [Feb. 12, 2012]
  • From McDonnell employee
  • Souvenir patch not flown
 
  • Heritage Auctions [May 22, 2015]
  • Desk pen set, pens missing

  • History TBD
  • Desk pen set, pens missing
 
   
  • Replacement wood base
  • Original information plaque
Gemini 11

Pete Conrad
Richard Gordon
 
  • From McDonnell factory in St. Louis
  • Missing wood base
  • Cracked stem
 
  • From McDonnell employee
  • Painted
  • Missing wood base

  • Heritage Auctions [Nov. 6, 2015]
  • Painted
  • Damaged stem with acrylic layer missing

  • eBay Auction [Nov. 20, 2018]
  • Completely unique, no reference to Gemini 11
  • Same paint as other Gemini 11 examples above





This page last modified: 04/12/2020
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