But they could not wait for him; the three men started training in November, sandwiching their simulations between those of other crews. They followed Spacecraft 9 through its building and testing, familiarized themselves with Gemini systems, and helped shape a tentative flight plan. Bassett and Cernan focused on extravehicular activities because one of them would go outside the spacecraft and ride the Air Force's Astronaut Maneuvering Unit (AMU).
The trio interrupted their routine early in December to work as communicators in the Houston Mission Control Center during the VII/VI-A mission. They then returned to flight training. Stafford, however, had to go through his postmission debriefing before he joined them in February 1966.2
1 Eugene A. Cernan, interview, Houston, 1 May 1967.
2 Gemini News Center Release No. 10, "Gemini 76 Flight Controllers," 2 Dec. 1965; Cernan interview.