Fact Check: Video Does NOT Prove Gemini 9 Spacewalk Was Faked

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Prove Gemini 9 Spacewalk Was Faked Re-Enactment

Was the Gemini 9 spacewalk in 1966 faked, as a 2024 post on social media implies with a video clip? No, that's not true: Video footage included in the post is from a 1966 televised re-enactment of what was happening in space on June 5 of that year. CBS News Correspondent Walter Cronkite said multiple times during the live broadcast that the footage viewers were seeing was a simulation taking place at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation's plant in St. Louis. The words "McDonnell Simulation" were superimposed on the screen when the report aired.

The claim appeared on Instagram (archived here) on February 4, 2024. The on-screen text read:

The joke's on you amerikkka 🤦🏽🤦🏽🤦🏽💆🏽💆🏽💆🏽

CBS News Special: The week in space, june 3, 1966

This is what the Instagram post looked like at the time of writing:

image (65).png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Feb 8 14:37:27 2024 UTC)

The video in the post showed an astronaut floating in space and holding on to a cable connected to a spacecraft. The line "The joke's on you" implies that spacewalk during the Gemini 9 mission was faked.

Lead Stories found the original footage on YouTube. In a video titled, "Gemini 9 - Spacewalk," viewers can see the text "McDONNELL SIMULATION" as on-screen text while American journalist Walter Cronkite explains that the simulation is showing whatever is happening in space at that exact moment. The re-enactment took place at the McDonnell Aircraft Plant in St. Louis. At 7:26 in the YouTube video, Cronkite says, "This is our simulation here in McDonnell what's going on right now." At 44:08 he repeats it by saying, "That was a malfunction here at our -- at McDonnell's simulation, not something that happened in space." Below is a screenshot of the "McDONNELL SIMULATION" on-screen text:

Screenshot 2024-02-08 at 11.21.19 AM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Feb 8 15:26:38 2024 UTC)

The spacewalk took place during the flight of Gemini 9, which launched on June 3, 1966, with American astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan on board.

Other Lead Stories fact checks on space are here.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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