APRIL 8, 1964 11:00AM ET


NASA'S first Gemini spacecraft

The unmanned Gemini I's main mission objectives were to asses the Titan II rocket's structural integrity, and to test the new tracking and communication systems put in place for the upcoming manned missions of the Gemini program. 

Fated never to return, the first Gemini rocket had holes drilled in its heat shield to ensure its destruction upon reentry. Gemini I completed 64 orbits during its four-day mission, before reentering and burning up in the atmosphere April 12, 1964.