Flown commercial satellite Apogee Rocket Motor Assembly from the Palapa B2 satellite retrieved from space by the shuttle Discovery during the STS-51-A mission. Assembly, serial number 31, with its graphite closure measures approximately 30″ tall with a nozzle diameter of approximately 23″. This assembly flew in space for over 119 million miles until it became the focus of the first ever satellite rescue mission. A small Morton Thiokol label is affixed to the included rectangular metal collar, and reads: “Project Name: Star 30 Palapa / Subject: Retrieval S/N 031 / Photo Date: 7/28/88 / Test Description: Disassembly.” In fine condition, with expected wear from firing.
Launched from shuttle mission STS-41B in February of 1984, the Palapa B failed to achieve geosynchronous orbit due to a design flaw of this very assembly. After its failed deployment, the satellite was purchased by Sattel Technologies which contracted NASA to retrieve it on the November 1984 STS-51-A shuttle mission. Sattel also contracted Hughes Aircraft Company and McDonnell Douglas to refurbish and relaunch the satellite. After its recovery, Thiokol corporation de-integrated this nozzle assembly with its graphite closure for analysis, and determined that it was a failure of this nozzle that was the root cause of the satellites inability to achieve proper orbit. A historically significant artifact from the first ever satellite recovered and returned to space. In compliance with ITAR regulations, this item is limited to purchase by US Citizens. RR Auction COA.
Bidding for the Space and Aviation Auction opens Nov 13, 2014 & ends Nov 20, 2014