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Edgar Mitchell’s Apollo 14 Flown Heel Restraints

16 Apr

Pair of flown heel restraints carried on the Apollo 14 mission, each consisting of a metal heel bracket with heavy duty brown Velcro stirrup straps. Parts tags are sewn to the longest strap on each restraint, one reading: “Heel Restraint L.H., BW-1053-001, S/N: 1142, Date of Mfg: 8/21/69, Mfg. by: B. Welson Co.” The other tag reads: “Heel Restraint R.H., BW-1053-002, S/N: 1140, Date of Mfg: 8/21/69, Mfg. by: B. Welson Co.” In overall fine condition, with some light stains to the tags. Accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Mitchell, in part: “This document certifies that the accompanying set of heel restraints were flown into lunar orbit aboard Kittyhawk on the Apollo 14 mission, which launched from Cape Kennedy on January 31, 1971.” These heel restraints locked the astronauts’ feet in place for safety during liftoff of the Saturn V rocket from Earth. If the astronauts were not tightly restrained in their couches during the launch phase, the violent motion induced from extreme acceleration could result in injury. As an important piece of safety equipment used during the mission that followed the near-disastrous Apollo 13, this pair of restraints is an important and extraordinary artifact of manned spaceflight.

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