Category Archives: Apollo
Extremely important original Block I Apollo Guidance computer display and keyboard (DSKY) unit, a predecessor to the Block II intended for application onboard the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module. The data entry and display device measures 8 x 8 x 6.5, and has 19 keys and a digital display. The back of the unit retains its NASA Raytheon Co. metal label which reads, “Apollo G & N System…Part No. 2003985-051, Serial No. RAY 12, NAS 9-497.” A NASA property tag is affixed above, reading: “NASA Property, North American Aviation, Inc., F340463.” This interface was the instrument that allowed the astronauts to communicate directly with the on board guidance computer. The Command Module had two DSKYs connected to its AGC; one located on the main instrument panel and a second located in the lower equipment bay near a sextant used for aligning the inertial guidance platform, with a single DSKY installed in the lunar module. These units would also be used during the Skylab missions. In overall fine condition.
Bidding for the Space and Aviation Auction opens Apr 16, 2015 & ends Apr 23, 2015
Seldom-offered Block II Apollo Command Module Rotation Control. Controller housing measures 7.25 x 5.5 x 3, with its attached umbilical measuring 104″ long. Honeywell identification plates to one side identify part as “Control Rotation; Mfr Part No. DCG166D2; Contract No. NAS9-5269; Mfr. Serial No.10028DAK1016; manufactured 26 SEPT 1966.” Spring-loaded hand controller remains quite tight and returns to neutral, and the locking mechanism is a bit loose, but still works when slight pressure is applied to the controller. Handle retains the trigger switch which would activate the astronaut’s headset. In fine condition, with several labels and stamps to housing, as well as scattered surface marks.
Extremely rare color semi-glossy official ‘red-numbered’ NASA photo, trimmed to a size of 9.75 x 7.5, signed and inscribed in black felt tip by White, “To Joyce—Thanks for all your help at KSC—with best wishes, Edward H. White II” and signed in black felt tip, “Gus Grissom,” and “Roger B. Chaffee.” This is paired with a one-of-a-kind set of two leather NASA identification tags from White’s and Grissom’s flight suits worn during trips to and from the Kennedy Space Center, both of which are moderately to heavily worn. Unlike all other Apollo missions, flight-worn materials from Apollo 1 are manifestly nonexistent; as the personal name patches from their earthly flight suits, these are essentially the closest possible surrogates extant. The signed photo and leather patches are attractively suede-matted and framed together with an Apollo 1 commemorative patch and a printed caption to an overall size of 23.25 x 18.25. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Joyce Abrams, who served as the crew quarters attendant for the astronauts, in part: “The two leather uniform name patches for the Apollo 1 astronauts…are the original patches from the astronauts’ flight suits which were worn by them while flying into and out of Kennedy Space Center during Pres. John F. Kennedy’s Man to the Moon program.” Aforementioned trimming and a few scattered creases to photo, not detracting from the overall appearance, otherwise fine condition. This is easily considered the rarest of all Apollo crew signed portraits, few ‘red-numbered’ examples are known to exist; combined with the unique personally-worn name patches from the astronauts’ NASA flight suits, this is an absolutely remarkable display.
Very rare complete Apollo-era S-IB Output control panel used at either the Kennedy Space Center or Mission Control. Panel measures 24 x 17.5 x 5.5, with a “Property of NASA,” label affixed to top left, and a printed label underneath numbered “GP00154A3A1.” Board is divided into four equal sections for the four outboard H-1 engines on the Saturn IB first stage, each with an ‘X’ and ‘Y’ hydraulic actuator, as well as switches to control each engine’s pitch and yaw. This panel was used to indicate gimbaling (the change in angle of orientation) of all four engines on the Saturn first stage. Gimbaling was used to apply directional thrust to keep the rocket on its proper trajectory. The four cathode ray tubes (CRT) displayed the affiliated ‘X’ and ‘Y’ hydraulic actuator deflection for each of the engines to report their health and status to the ground controller. The Saturn IB launched two unmanned CSM suborbital flights, one unmanned LM orbital flight, and the first manned CSM orbital mission (first planned as Apollo 1, later flown as Apollo 7). It was used between 1973 and 1975 for three manned Skylab flights, and one Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flight. RR Auction COA.
Extremely important original Block I Apollo Guidance computer display and keyboard (DSKY) unit, a predecessor to the Block II intended for application onboard the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module. A 24.4 pound, 9.5 x 10 x 7.25 data entry and display device with 18 keys, including a calculator interface and digit display, two status lights, a dial to adjust brightness of the display, and an accept/block toggle switch. Back of the unit retains its NASA Raytheon Co. metal label which reads, “Apollo G. & N. System…Part No. 1003770-161; Serial No. RAY 205…Designed by M. I. T. Inst. Lab.” Three “Discrepant Item” labels are also affixed to the reverse. Additionally, three “Decoding Modules” have been bolted to the upper portion of the unit, each stenciled with consecutive serial numbers. This interface was the instrument that allowed the astronauts to communicate directly with the on board guidance computer. The Command Module had two DSKYs connected to its AGC; one located on the main instrument panel and a second located in the lower equipment bay near a sextant used for aligning the inertial guidance platform, with a single DSKY installed in the lunar module. These units would also be used during the Skylab missions. In overall fine condition.
Training on the DSKY was critical for every aspect of the mission. This was the astronaut’s interface, allowing access to the Apollo Guidance Computer developed by MIT. The device permitted the astronauts to collect and provide flight information necessary for the precise landings on the moon. Each different program had a two-digit code and commands were entered as two-digit numbers in a verb-noun sequence. It was the DSKY that provided the astronauts with critical burn times for engine firings, course corrections, trajectories, and other key calculations vital in getting a crew to and from the moon. It was also the DSKY that reported the program alarm moments before the LM touched down on the lunar surface on the first lunar landing.
Only about 12 of these Block I interfaces are believed to have been manufactured, with the original cost for each unit in the neighborhood of $200,000. The Block I design, due to its modularity, could be fixed during a mission that carried appropriate spares. Only one manned Block I mission flew, as the Apollo 1 fire required the spacecraft redesign that incorporated all of the Block II changes. These changes included discarding the ‘in-flight’ repair concept of Block I. Every Apollo crew member was trained to use these interfaces for various parts of their missions, as these were absolutely critical to the success of each mission. RR Auction COA.
Apollo Block II Entry Monitoring System Assembly. Unit weighs 21.75 pounds, measures 9 x 8 x 10, and has its original Autonetics manufacturer’s label affixed to one side, which reads: “Entry Monitor Control Assy…Ser. No. 06359-0188-0005; Mfg. Date: May 7 69.” Side also bears stamped “Accepting Terminal Testing Time,” and “Acceptance Vibration Time” labels, with a “Class III Not For Flight” label affixed to the bottom panel, which indicates it was likely a training unit, but does not preclude possible flight history prior to its downgrade. Assembly also retains its original umbilical and plug. Front of the assembly is highlighted by the ?V instructions printed on the EMS scroll. This scroll would provide a visual aid by which the astronauts could monitor an automatic reentry and fly a manual reentry if needed. Other features include a range-to-go digital display under the scroll, the 0.05 velocity indicator, and the roll/attitude indicator needle in the lower left. Also present is the VHF mode selector switch, the ?V setting switch, and the function dial with 11 different settings, three of which are self-test provisions. Four small squares of Velcro are affixed to the frame of scroll. In overall fine condition. This is the first such unit we have ever seen available for public auction. RR Auction COA.
Flown Apollo 9 Robbins Medal, approximately 1-inch diameter, with a raised design on the face of the mission insignia. The reverse of the sterling silver medal is engraved with the last names of astronauts James McDivitt, Dave Scott, and Rusty Schweickart, as well as “March 3–13, 1969” and is serial numbered “95.” Normal condition. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity signed by Dave Scott, which reads, in part: “I hereby certify that the Apollo 9 silver medallion number ‘95’ included with this letter is from my personal collection and was flown aboard Apollo 9, March 3–13, 1969…After the mission, the Astronaut Office distributed the medallions accordingly. I specifically requested the Apollo 9 number ‘95’ included with this letter.” RR Auction COA.
Young’s flown Personal Preference Kit bag, 5.75 x 8.75, signed and flight-certified in black felt tip, “From my personal collection, Flown on Apollo 16, John Young.” PPK is constructed of Beta cloth, with a 2″ gusset and a metal grommet at top center with original drawstring. The original sewn-on tag specifies: “KIT, PILOT’S PREFERENCE/ P/N SEB 12100018-202/ S/N 1146/ MFG. NASA MSC 4-70.” There is also a small affixed gray duct tape tag with “John Young” handwritten in ink. In fine condition. Especially rare, PPKs allowed the Apollo astronauts to carry a limited number of personal items on each manned spacecraft flight—this is just the second PPK directly attributable to an astronaut that we have offered. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.
Two adjoined Velcro-backed cue cards from the Apollo 11 mission. First card measures 2.5 x 8 and is headed at the top, “EMS–AV to 7000 fps, Boost,” and starts at T -3:00, continues to lift-off, and ends at “11:50 Insersion.” This card is signed at the top in black felt tip, “Buzz Aldrin,” and signed again on the reverse with the confirmation “Flown to the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, Apollo XI.” Attached to the bottom of the first card is laminated 2.5 x 8 cue card, printed primarily in red, headed “Mode 1,” and “Mode II–III–IV,” with both modes starting with “Abort.” In fine condition, with some scattered light toning and soiling.
The cue card details contingency abort activities (automatic and crew initiated) during the critical boost phase of flight from launch through earth orbit insertion which would allow the crew to effect an early return or achieve orbit in the event of a critical launch vehicle or Command Service Module (CSM) anomaly. The card addresses four abort modes. Mode 1 (enabled up to 19 miles altitude) leveraged the Launch Escape System (LES) to separate and ferry away the Apollo Command Module from the booster; Mode II (after jettison of the LES) utilized the Service Propulsion System (SPS) and Command Module Reaction Control Engines (RCS); Mode III (Contingency Orbit Insertion or COI) employs the Saturn V third stage (S-IVB); and Mode IV uses the SPS to achieve CSM orbit in the event the S-IVB is unable to do so.