Flight durations grew longer in 1965. On Gemini V, astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad circled the world 120 times in 190 hours and 55 minutes, returning with dramatic color photographs of the surface of the Earth. Apogee was 215 miles and perigee 100 miles.

LIFE, 24 September 1965, cover

This splendid photograph graced the cover of LIFE magazine (The most remarkable photos from Earth ever recorded, September 24, 1965.) and was taken with the hand-held NASA-modified 70mm Hasselblad 500C and its 80mm lens, using MS Ektachrome thin base film, ASA 64.

The photo captures Baja California in Mexico looking southeast with the Gulf of California to the left as seen from the Gemini V spacecraft. 

“The color of many of the [Gemini photographs] is outstanding and ground resolution remarkably high. [...] Photos of shorelines, river courses, and details never before seen by man are included. [...] These photographs and other Gemini experiments are the beginning of a vast increase in man’s useful knowledge of Earth and its environment.”

—Robert Gilruth, Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center (NASA SP-129, preface)