The success of the Soviets' Vostok flights led them to embark on a brief but more ambitious program called Voskhod ("sunrise"). This entailed just two flights using a redesigned Vostok space-craft, but each carried more than one cosmonaut at a time.
In October 1964, five months before the first two-person Gemini mission, Vladimir Komarov, Boris Yegorov, and Konstantin Feoktistov rode Voskhod 1 into space and successfully completed 17 orbits. The first spacewalk was made by Aleksei Leonov from Voskhod 2 in March 1965.
In the same month, the first manned Gemini launch— Gemini 3—took place, piloted by Virgil Grissom and John Young. The astronauts performed orbital changes and other maneuvers that were important practice for future flights. Gemini 4, launched in June 1965, featured the first spacewalk by a United States astronaut. While pilot James McDivitt manned the spacecraft, Edward White drifted in space for 22 minutes, propelling himself on the end of a tether with a hand-held maneuvering device.
The next two years saw a succession of Gemini flights, which tested spacecraft maneuvers, refined spacewalking techniques, and studied the effects ofspaceflight on humans. Perhaps the most important accomplishment of the program was the world's first docking maneuver in space, completed by Neil Armstrong and David Scott during the Gemini 8 flight in March 1966. Docking, a procedure in which one spacecraft joins another in space, was crucial to the success of future Moon missions. Other dockings followed with Geminis 10, 11, and 12.