Gemini XI was possibly the coolest and most professional crew of the entire space program.
Richard Gordon and Pete Conrad still hold the record of the highest Earth orbit ever flown by humans. Three years later they flew together to the Moon on Apollo 12.
“Pete and I go way back. We worked extremely well together and developed a camaderie that was something startling. It always allows you to think and act alike, which in certain situations, can be very comforting. It made us the best in the business.”
—Richard Gordon (Schick and Van Haaften, pg. 45)
Gemini XI lifted off during a two-second window, the shortest of the Gemini Program, to rendezvous with the Agena Target Vehicle on the first orbit. On Sept. 12, 1966, at 9:42 a.m. (EST), precisely on time, one hour and 37 minutes after an Agena was boosted to orbit on an Atlas rocket from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in Florida, Conrad and Gordon lifted off from Launch Complex 19 at the Cape.
Once docked to the Agena they reached the highest Earth orbit ever flown by humans.