Determined to effect a successful rendezvous in orbit, NASA sent astronauts
Neil Armstrong and David Scott in Gemini 8 to dock with the orbiting spacecraft
Agena. The astronauts docked successfully but immediately lost control of the
combined spacecraft, which began to spin uncontrollably. Scott separated the
two vessels, but Gemini 8 only increased its rotation velocity, to a full
rotation per second.
Agena in orbit, viewed from Gemini 8
Armstrong and Scott were veteran pilots and kept their cool. Careful to hold
their heads still to prevent paralyzing dizziness, they eventually isolated the
problem, a stuck attitude adjuster. By cutting out the adjuster, they
stabilized the spacecraft and safely returned home. When asked later how he
felt during this near-disastrous ride, Armstrong commented, "I suspect you
could categorize it as anxiety."