WAPAKONETA — For their March speaker series event, the Armstrong Air & Space Museum will be celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Gemini VIII space mission. Aboard this historic flight, Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong performed the world’s first docking of two crafts while in orbit, making this mission one of the most significant in NASA’s Project Gemini.
Greg Brown, space historian and Experience Coordinator for the museum, will be giving an in-depth analysis of the mission and will explore the background and operational details including the astronauts narrow escape from a nearly fatal thruster malfunction. The event is scheduled for the actual anniversary date, Tuesday, March 16, and will be broadcast at 7 p.m. free of charge through the museum’s Facebook page.
“The Gemini VIII mission was Armstrong’s first time in space, and even with the early termination of the mission, the crew accomplished their most important objectives and averted a near fatal disaster,” said Executive Director Dante Centuori. “And lucky for us, our very own Greg Brown happens to be one of the premier researchers and historians for this very mission.”
The museum is home to a number of artifacts related to this mission including Armstrong’s Gemini spacesuit and the actual Gemini VIII capsule, which happens to be the only Gemini capsule in the State of Ohio. While the museum will not be open on Tuesday the 16th, guests are encouraged to visit the museum on open days and experience first-hand these unique artifacts and to learn more about early space flight.
Born in Lima, Ohio, Brown spent his early career serving his country, first as a Missile Security Specialist in the United States Air Force and later as a member in the Army Military Police Corps. After his military service, Brown spend almost 20 years in the private sector in quality control labs. In January 2015, Brown began volunteering for the museum and was subsequently hired on as the museum’s Experience Coordinator in June of 2018. Brown received his bachelor’s degree in history.
“The Gemini VIII mission perfectly exemplifies Armstrong’s skill as a pilot and astronaut,” said Brown. “While he showed tremendous ability as the commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong really showcased the range of his talent salvaging the Gemini VIII mission from disaster. I hope people watching begin to see Armstrong, not only as the first man on the Moon, but as an overall accomplished and competent pilot, that’s what he’d want to be known for.”
Follow the museum on social media for content updates on the mission and anniversary. For more information on the Armstrong Museum speaker series event, visit the museum’s website at www.armstrongmuseum.org or call the museum at 419-738-8811.