Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned moon landing in history. In July 1969 he became the second person to ever step on the moon's surface.
No stranger to space, Aldrin had previously served as pilot aboard Gemini 12 in 1966. During this mission, Aldrin walked outside the spacecraft on three occasions. On one of these he spent two hours and twenty minutes on a tethered space walk photographing star fields, retrieving a micrometeorite collector and demonstrating the feasibility of extra-vehicular activity.
Aldrin held the record for the most extra-vehicular activity time until it was surpassed on Apollo 14 in 1971.
According to different NASA accounts, Aldrin had originally been proposed as the first to step onto the Moon's surface during the Apollo 11 mission, but due to the physical positioning of the astronauts inside the compact Lunar Landing Module, it was easier for the commander, Neil Armstrong, to be the first to exit the spacecraft.
This flight coverall was worn by Buzz Aldrin during training for both of his spaceflights: Gemini 12, where he conducted three successful space walks and Apollo 11, when he and Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon.
The bright orange coverall, which was manufactured by L.W. Foster Sportswear Co Inc, was supplied to NASA on 3 May 1961, five years before Aldrin's first spaceflight aboard Gemini 12 and eight years before the launch of Apollo 11.
It has been signed by Aldrin above the left chest pocket: "Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11, July 20th 1969".
The suit is accompanied by a letter of provenance which details the following history of the item:
"1. Buzz Aldrin consigned to:
2. Superior Galleries November 18-19, 1991 Sale of Space Memorabilia to:
3. Space Collector William Hongach"
Though not flown, this suit was integral in the training for the spaceflight and is therefore an historically significant piece of Apollo 11 memorabilia.
Due to the historical importance of the mission, many related items are now held in institutions. The National Air and Space Museum holds_400_items relating to the first lunar landing, including helmets, constant wear garments, sunglasses and in-flight coveralls.
It is estimated that 600 million people watched the launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969, making it the largest television audience for a live broadcast at that time. As such, it is no wonder that items related to the flight are highly sought after by collectors and institutions alike.
The most expensive item of Apollo 11 memorabilia ever sold was the navigational chart used on the mission which fetched $218,000 at auction in 2009. The same year, the lunar module landing sequence from the mission, which featured Aldrin's signature on each page, sold for $152,000.
Suits comparable to this one have previously appeared on the collectors' market. In 2010, Paul Fraser Collectibles sold a NASA flight suit that was worn by Michael Collins following his recovery from the Apollo 11 mission for £75,000. Unlike the Buzz Aldrin suit, the Collins suit was not signed.
Also in 2010, Alan Shepard's Gemini space suit, which was not flown, sold at auction for $187,000.
For sale: £75,000
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