The Top Five most valuable spacecraft memorabilia
Space artefacts aren't limited to autographs, how about owning your own piece of a space shuttle?
Space exploration memorabilia is as varied as it is bizarre, from Michael Collins's Apollo 11 flight suit, to chronograph watches flown in space, pens and medals, and more traditional items like signed autographs.
However, among the more outstanding auction sales in recent times are memorabilia from the space shuttles themselves.
Nothing like these unusual craft had ever existed in human history.
They took mankind to where it had never been before, with new - and often precarious - technologies. And, today, these technologies can command large sums at auction.
At Paul Fraser Collectibles, we have compiled a list of the five most valuable pieces of space shuttle memorabilia sold this year.
5. Apollo Reaction Control Rocket Engine (£21,960)
During a manned lunar mission, it was absolutely vital that the space shuttle's rockets fired at specific times. Whether or not the rockets would work at the right time worried every space explorer.
This 100-pound rocket engine was one of sixteen, clustered in groups of four, used for attitude control for both the Apollo Command Modules and the Lunar Modules.
Manufactured by the Marquardt Corporation, the rocket sold at Bonhams in July. It shot way past its higher estimate of £15,000, selling for £21,960.
4. A Flown Command Module Window Glass from Apollo 14 (£30,500)
This thick silica glass pane with a red outer seal (15 x 16 x one inches) was exposed to the vacuum of space during the entire Apollo 14 flight to the moon, in lunar orbit, and on the return to Earth - a staggering total distance of over half a million miles.
The outer window glass was from Kittyhawk, the Command Module of Apollo 14. Through this very window, commander Alan Shepard - also America's first man in space - spied his first close-up views of the Moon's magnificently desolate surface.
3. Apollo Guidance Computer: Original Display and Keyboard Unit ($50,787.50)
Used on every moon landing mission for onboard guidance and navigation, this fascinating piece of retro-futurist technology was, like the rocket engines, utterly crucial to the safe completion of the astronauts' missions.
Weighing 15 pounds, with nineteen keys and a 21 digit display, a unit like this was mounted into the control panel of each lunar module, with two in each command module.
The computer gave astronauts access to the groundbreaking Apollo Guidance Computer, providing flight information vital to the precise landings on the Moon. It brought over $50,000 at Heritage Auction Galleries' space sale.
2. Apollo 16 Lunar Module Flown Crewman Optical Alignment Sight (COAS) ($65,725)
If you are wondering what a COAS is, put simply, it enabled mission commander John Young to safely manoeuvre and dock the space shuttle using minimal time and fuel.
A "telescope" of sorts, it provided Young with a line-of-sight attitude reference image, enabling him to target a docking location from Apollo 16, up-to 150 feet away.
As with the Apollo Guidance Computer interface, this is yet another then-state of the art piece of technology in which the astronauts trusted their lives. This unique, eight-inch long device brought an incredible $62,725 at Heritage.
1. The Falcon lunar module's Attitude Control joystick from Apollo 15 (£206,000)
The most expensive piece of space shuttle memorabilia on our list is an actual piece of flight control equipment used to control Apollo 15's landing. It was sold at Bonhams in an 11 x 9½ by five inches wooden case.
The joystick was used to activate the four sets of four 100-pound Marquardt rocket engines (see item five on our list); working with the semi-automatic onboard computers' steering calculations and engine thrust-on commands.
On the Moon's surface inside Falcon for over 66 hours, this unique and critical device was a highlight at Bonhams successful July space sale, selling for over £200,000.
If you are looking for more personal, astronaut-related memorabilia, at Paul Fraser Collectibles we currently have a joint photo of Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, separate individual signed photos by each of them and, incredibly, Michael Collins's Apollo 11 flight suit, which can each be yours to own.
For further information please contact Adrian Roose at email@example.com or telephone +44 (0) 117 933 9503
Photos: Bonhams, Heritage and NASA