At 2pm EDT on this day in 1966, the Gemini XII spacecraft was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. It was the 10th and final manned Gemini flight, and the 18th manned American spaceflight. Commanded by Gemini VII veteran James A. Lovell, the flight featured three periods of extravehicular activity (EVA) by rookie Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. It also achieved the fifth rendezvous and fourth docking with an Agena target vehicle.
Gemini XII marked a successful conclusion of the Gemini program, achieving the last of its goals by successfully demonstrating that astronauts can effectively work outside of the spacecraft. This was instrumental in paving the way for the Apollo program, to achieve its goal of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s.