One of the most fantastic photographs of Ed White spacewalking outside the Gemini spacecraft, over New Mexico. He is pictured against the black sky of space with the Gulf of California and Baja California over his left shoulder.
James McDivitt took the photograph facing southwest from his Command Pilot left seat of the capsule with a Hasselblad model 500 C (NASA modified) and 70mm Eastman Kodak Ektachrome MS film.
Ed White’s EVA was a great success for the American space program and Gemini 4 marked a turning point in the space race with the Soviets. Tethered by a looping, golden umbilical cord, Ed White was able to move freely 100 miles above Earth for 21 minutes. Using the guidance gun in his right hand, he maneuvered at will until its compressed oxygen ran out. He thus became the world’s first propelled space man. Though orbiting at 17,500 miles an hour, the space walker “had little sensation of speed and no sensation of falling, only a feeling of accomplishment.” (National Geographic, September 1965, pg. 440)
Completely entranced by the experience, he resisted repeated calls from Houston to get back to the spacecraft.
From the mission transcript during the EVA:
Okay. Ed, just free-float around. Right now we’re pointing just about straight down at the ground.
Okay, now I’m taking a look back at the adapter and equipment back there. I can see the separation plane; it’s quite clean. The thrusters are clean. The thermal paint, the thermal stripping looks quite good. Also, the velcro that we put on seems to be in good shape right by the camera. I’m coming back down on the spacecraft. I can sit up here and see the whole California coast.
Okay. Now I’m going to go out and see how much ..... if I’ve got enough harness.
The sky sure is black.