Apollo Reflections: General Thomas Stafford on Gemini & Apollo
Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10 and ASTP Astronaut
Now available, the third film in our “Apollo Reflections” series, “Apollo Reflections: The General on Gemini & Apollo” (2019, 45 min., 4K). In this 45 minute documentary, presented in beautiful 4K with fully restored NASA images, General Thomas Stafford describes his influences and inspirations growing up in Weatherford, Oklahoma, the development of the Apollo program, and all four of his NASA missions into space. This film features a sit-down interview with General Stafford in front of his actual Gemini 6 spacecraft as well as clips from a public talk he gave to a hometown crowd in Weatherford.
General Stafford describes in detail all four of his missions, beginning with Gemini 6 – the first rendezvous in space with Gemini 7:
Here is a short clip from the film about Stafford’s Gemini 6 mission – Excerpted from “Apollo Reflections: The General on Gemini & Apollo”. In this clip general Stafford discusses his first mission – which featured the first rendezvous in space (clip is in HD, 6 1/2 minutes plus credits)
Stafford also discuses his other missions at length including Gemini 9 – planned mission to dock with an agena target vehicle, aborted when the shroud didn’t open on the “angry alligator” and Gene Cernan’s “spacewalk from hell”…
Apollo 10 – second mission to orbit the moon and first use of the Lunar Module in lunar orbit (descending down to 9 miles) in the first full test “dress rehearsal”…
and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) – the first international joint mission and docking in space:
On May 19, 2019, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down for an interview with the legendary Gen. Tom Stafford, at his name sake museum in Weatherford, OK, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 10. General Stafford grew up in Weatherford and the museum and local airport carry his name. The Stafford Air & Space Museum played host to an exclusive gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 10 on May 18th. Through the much appreciated efforts of Museum Director, Max Ary and his staff, arrangements were made for me to interview The General the next morning.
We set up the interview at the base of his actual Gemini 6 spacecraft, an incredible backdrop for our conversation.
General Stafford is among the space pioneer elite, having been selected to NASA as one of the “New Nine” – the second group of astronauts after the Mercury 7. He graciously sat for the interview for about an hour before his public talk he gave at the local high school, his old alma mater.
I enjoyed Gen. Stafford’s many animated stories, including the UFO sighting shortly after Gemini 6 rendezvoused with Gemini 7 and the story behind the “Beat Army” sign. His response to the lasting impact of seeing the full Earth from space was sincere and touching. I very much appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with him and I admire his boundless energy. I hope you enjoy his wonderful stories too!
A big thank you to Max Ary and the staff at the Stafford Air& Space Museum for their incredible assistance! And very special thanks to General Stafford and his family!