Gemini 1 was the first unmanned test flight of the Gemini spacecraft in NASA’s Gemini program.
Its main objectives were to test the structural integrity of the new spacecraft and modified Titan II ICBM. It was also the first test of the new tracking and communication systems for the Gemini program and provided training for the ground support crews for the first manned missions.
The spacecraft stayed attached to the second stage of the rocket. The mission lasted for three orbits while test data were taken, but the spacecraft stayed in orbit for almost 64 orbits until the orbit decayed due to atmospheric drag. The spacecraft was not intended to be recovered; in fact, holes were drilled through its heat shield to ensure it would not survive re-entry.
Gemini Spacecraft Number 1 was built specifically for an unmanned mission. Crew life support systems were deleted, and replaced with ballast to approximate the weight of a crewed spacecraft. Four large holes were drilled in the capsule’s ablative heat shield to ensure the spacecraft was destroyed during reentry. In place of the crew couches were measuring equipment that relayed telemetry measuring the pressure, vibration, acceleration, temperature, and structural loads during the short flight.