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Sotheby's celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing with an auction
Roger Chaffee’s Helmet & Glove Cover (Apollo 1). Courtesy Sotheby's..


NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s presents their third-annual Space Exploration auction in New York on 20 July 2019 – the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing.

The sale will feature a wide variety of material from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, featuring direct consignments from astronauts including: Apollo 13 Mission Commander James Lovell; Apollo 9 Lunar Module Pilot Russell Schweickart; and the Estate of John Young, who enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut. The sale also offers an impressive collection of flown mission artifacts and hardware, the finest single owner collection of flown Robbins medallions, early contractor’s models, spacesuits, maps, charts and much more.

Exhibitions will open to the public on 15 July alongside Omega Speedmaster: To the Moon and Back – an auction dedicated to the official watch of NASA.

AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS

The sale is led by a collection of 20 original Apollo Firing Room Control Panels from the Kennedy Space Center Firing Room 1, which launched 7 Apollo missions carried by the Saturn V rocket, including the three most historic: Apollo 8 (first humans to orbit the moon), Apollo 11 (first humans to land on the moon), and Apollo 17 (last humans to land on the moon), as well as Apollo 4 (unmanned), 13, 15 and 16 (estimate $200/300,000).

The collection consists of: Seven Monitoring Console Panels, used to display information pertaining to countdown and launch sequence events; two panels from the Instrument Unit, which contained the guidance and monitoring equipment for the rocket while it was in flight; five console panels for the SIC, the first stage of the Saturn V Rocket; two console panels for the S-II, the second stage of the Saturn V; four console panels for the S-IVB, the third stage of the Saturn V.

Another highlight is the Flown Apollo 11 Boost Cover Release Port Label, which was salvaged from the Crew Access Hatch of Command Module “Columbia” (estimate $125/150,000). The Apollo 11 spacecraft was made up of three parts; Command Module 107 (nicknamed the “Columbia”), the Service Module and Lunar Module 5 (nicknamed the “Eagle”), but the “Columbia” was the only part of the spacecraft to return to Earth intact. The module re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on July 24th, 1969, splashing into the North Pacific Ocean and along with its crew – Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins – was safely recovered by the USS Hornet. The Boost Cover Release Port Label was salvaged during the deactivation and decontamination of the “Columbia” when it was stripped of its protective Kapton foil and outer labels.

The first mission in the manned lunar landing program, Apollo 1, was scheduled to launch on February 21st, 1967, from the Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch 34 Complex in Florida, carrying as its crew Command Pilot Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Ed White, and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee. Tragedy struck during a launch rehearsal test on January 27th when a cabin fire killed all three crew members and destroyed the Command Module. Roger Chaffee’s Helmet & Glove Stowage Cover was not onboard during the test launch and is the only known piece of his spacesuit to not be destroyed in the disaster (estimate $125/150,000). The white, nylon helmet and glove stowage bag has a front Velcro strap embroidered with "R.B. CHAFFEE" on the exterior and contains an interior label that reads: "BAG, HELMET-GLOVE, STOWAGE/ NASA DESIGNATION ASB-1C / MFG. DAVID CLARK COMPANY INC. / P/N A-2011-000 SER. NO. 120 / NOVEMBER 1966." (estimate $125/150,000).

A naval officer, aviator, and aeronautical engineer, Roger Chaffee (1935-1967) was selected to be part of NASA astronaut group 3 and went on to serve as CAPCOM for Gemini 3 and Gemini 4. Apollo 1 was his first spaceflight assignment and he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Originally from the Collection of Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, a flown Apollo 11 Checklist Sheet used on the lunar surface features steps that were performed just minutes before Neil Armstrong descended the ladder on Lunar Module Eagle's front landing strut, becoming the first man to set foot on the moon. A vital document to the success of the mission, the checklist contains space suit preparations, removal of the PLSS (Portable Life Support Systems, or "back-packs") from storage, and securing the PLSS to the spacesuits. Carrying an estimate of $40/60,000, the sheet is signed by Buzz Aldrin and inscribed with “CARRIED IN EAGLE TO THE LUNAR SURFACE ON APOLLO XI. BUZZ ALDRIN."

During the Apollo 16 mission, Lunar Module Pilot Charlie Duke and Mission Commander John Young conducted three EVAs (ExtraVehicular Activity, or moonwalks), spending just over 20 hours on the lunar surface. The EVAs included three traverses in the Lunar Rover, during which they deployed 9 different experiments, photographed the lunar surface, and collected lunar samples from 11 different sites. An Apollo 16 Lunar Surface Map accompanied the astronauts on these expeditions of the Descartes Highlands and was to be used as their primary navigation instrument should the Lunar Rover become inoperative (estimate $30/50,000).

Illustrating the topographical lunar surface overlaid with a grid, the map marks the LM landing site, flag plant site, "Turtle Mountain", "Palmetto", "Lone Star", "Eden Valley", "Merriam", and "Survey Ridge" among others. Originally from Charlie Duke’s personal collection, the map is signed and inscribed “THIS MAP WAS FLOWN TO THE LUNAR SURFACE BY THE CREW OF APOLLO 16. IT WAS USED TO NAVIGATE DURING THE EVAS AT DESCARTES ON THE CAYLEY PLAIN. CHARLIE DUKE. APOLLO XVI."

On offer in the sale is a group of Six American Passports issued to Neil Armstrong from 1954 to 1979, including his Special Passport, used while going through astronaut training and when conducting official business abroad for NASA, as well as his Diplomatic Passport (below right), used for special diplomatic missions for the President of the United States (estimate $30/50,000). The passports demonstrate one of the many ways that becoming an astronaut changed Armstrong’s life, as he was required to travel extensively, visiting nearly every country in South America as well as Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines.

The sale features a unique presentation piece from the Apollo 11 Crew gifted to Terry Slezak – a Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) Technician assigned to the Crew Reception Area (CRA) of the Lunar Receiving Lab (LRL) – who became in the course of his duties following the return of Apollo 11, the first man to touch moon dust with his bare hands (estimate $50/70,000).

Included in the presentation are: the metal “Mag. S” label, taken from the Lunar Surface Hasselblad 70 mm Film Magazine, which was used by Neil Armstrong while he was on the lunar surface exploring Tranquility Base (Armstrong subsequently dropped it onto the surface of the moon thus soiling it with moondust); an autograph manuscript written by Buzz Aldrin while on the lunar surface, and signed "Buzz", describing the contents of the film magazines, and identifying “Mag. S” as being “The most important Lunar Surface EVA film”; a piece of Skin from the Apollo 11 Command Module "Columbia"; and vintage photographs of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon, Slezak holding the Hasselblad film "Mag. S" in one hand, showing his other hand stained with moondust, and Slezak in quarantine with the Hasselblad film "Mag. S" in his hand, with Buzz’s autograph manuscript note visible in the background. The display is signed and inscribed in Neil Armstrong’s hand: "TO TERRY SLEZAK - / A 'DIRTY' PHOTOGRAPHER/ WITH BEST WISHES./ NEIL ARMSTRONG”, signed “BUZZ ALDRIN" and signed and inscribed "MANY THANKS - / MICHAEL COLLINS."





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