NASA faked Gemini IV spacewalk?

On June 3, 1965, astronaut Ed White performed the first American spacewalk (or EVA) during the Gemini IV mission. Great achievement, but there are people who still claim the spacewalk was faked. Their main argument is that the video footage looks like stop-motion animation.

Other common arguments:

  • The helmet swivel (astronaut moved his head)
  • Earth’s rotation looks too smooth (for a stop-motion animation)
  • Video quality is too good

Here is one version of the video narrated by Ed White (starts at 0:46).

Gemini IV was equipped with several cameras. Movie cameras used:

  • 16 mm camera, running at 6 frames per second
  • Similar camera with a 5 mm lens giving a 160 degree field of view (also ran at 6 FPS)

The low frame-rate explains why some people believe this film is a stop-motion animation. They used low frame-rate to conserve film and batteries.

Below is a picture of the movie  cameras used on early Gemini flights (image by NASA):

The stop-motion claim is silly. Why use only 6 FPS for animation? It would look more realistic at 24 FPS. The footage is clearly not stop-motion animation. Reminder: video technology was quite primitive in 1965. It would not have been possible to create a fake like this.

There are people who also claim that the moon landing was faked. Below is one of my favorite debunks that is also applicable to the Gemini IV claims:


Remaining arguments

  1. The helmet swivel. Surprise: they had swivel helmets. Astronaut was able to move his head. Ed White used a G4-C space suite. The helmet was connected via a locking ring on the suit. The ring had rotating bearings, allowing the astronaut to turn his head from side to side. See more information about spacesuits.
  2. Earth’s rotation looks too smooth. It does not. For me the footage looks just fine. There are many variables to consider like the speed and distance of earth vs. the objects closer to camera. But the footage looks just right. And awesome.
  3. Video quality is too good. This footage was not streamed live from TVs so of course it looks better than b/w television footage. The video material has been transferred from film to digital format and probably enhanced along the way.
    If the conspiracy theorist would be more precise and let us know exactly what they are comparing (apples vs oranges?), it would be more easier to answer.

I’m sure the conspiracy theorists will come up with new “evidence” to back up their claims. They always do. However, it is quite easy to debunk claims about fake space footage, moon landing hoaxes etc. by using common sense and facts.

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