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Are We There Yet? Podcast

Bringing Gemini Home: Programming Re-entry

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and David R. Scott sit with their spacecraft hatches open while awaiting the arrival of the recovery ship, the USS Leonard F. Mason, after the successful completion of their Gemini 8 mission. They're assisted by rescue personnel. Photo: NASA

In the 1960s, it was up to programmers like Alice Schmidt to help bring Gemini capsules safely home.

Schmidt was a member of an IBM programming team hired by NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center to analyze re-entry trajectories and guidance navigation to drop the Gemini capsule in a specific area in the ocean for recovery. The Gemini program was an important step in getting humans to the moon.

Schmidt joins the podcast to talk about her work with NASA, what it was like being a female programmer, and just how her team figured out complicated computations using only punch cards and pencils.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »