Gemini 8 was the sixth crewed Earth-orbiting spacecraft of the Gemini series, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott. The primary mission objectives were to perform rendezvous and four docking tests with the Agena target vehicle and to execute an ExtraVehicular Activity (EVA) experiment. Other objectives included parking the Agena in a 410 km circular orbit, performing a rerendezvous with the Agena, conduct systems evaluation, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, and demonstration of controlled reentry. Ten technological, medical, and scientific experiments were carried on board.
Gemini 8 was launched from Complex 19 at 10:41:02 a.m. EST (16:41:02.389 UT) on 16 March 1966 and inserted into a 159.9 x 271.9 km orbit at 11:47:36. Over the next six hours the spacecraft performed 9 maneuvers to rendezvous with the Gemini Agena Target Vehicle (GATV), which had been launched earlier (at 9:00 a.m. EST). The rendezvous phase ended at 4:39 p.m. EST, with the spacecraft 45 meters apart with zero relative motion. Stationkeeping and other maneuvers were performed for about half an hour, and then Gemini 8 moved in and docked with the GATV on the 5th revolution at 5:14 p.m., the first docking ever to take place in space.