Apollo 11 construction log to auction

The I M Chait Natural History auction, which will feature several excellent meteorites, will also feature a number of space exploration items. Not just any old space memorabilia either, but pieces from the moon-landing missions.

There are two items of particular interest to those collecting memorabilia for the near disaster that was Apollo 13. First is an operations handbook for lunar module 3 (Spider) and 7 (Aquarius), which were used for Apollo missions 9 and 13 respectively.

Particularly interesting is the final checklist sequence and its gradual completion - on the Apollo 13 Lunar Module, including items of significance to what was to become the LM Lifeboat: "Install Water Control Module; Install Glare Shields; Install Crewman Optical Alignment Sight." The book is expected to sell for $7,000-9,000.

Apollo 13 memorabilia
Apollo 13 towing bill

The second piece is a joke 'towing bill' which mission control sketched for Rockwell, creators of the failed Apollo 13 Command Module.

The module had to be recharged from the Lunar Module's batteries, and once it appeared that the crew were likely to make it back alive, the fatigued but elated technicians knocked up a bill charging $4 for the first mile of 'towing', and $1 per mile for the next 460,000. This is one of the original copies and is valued at $6,000-7,000.

Lunar Module model Apollo
Grumman lunar module model

A Grumman lunar module contractors model is available, estimated at $10,000-12,000. The high estimate is due to the rarity of models in good condition, and this one is absolutely pristine.

A section of real lunar module leg, used for testing in the 1968 run up to the Apollo 11 mission is expected to sell for $10,000-12,000.

The two expected top lots, however are two texts cataloguing that run-up. First is a construction log -the only original log of its kind in existence - of the Apollo 11 finishing on July 20, 1968 - exactly a year before the first moon landing.

The notes include some remarkably tetchy comments about technicians failing to properly investigate electrical failures and messing up some of the testing.

Apollo 11 Eagle Neil Armstrong Aldrin
Report on the Eagle

Secondly, there is a rare copy of the Carr report on the reliability of Lunar Module 5, better known as Eagle, which was to land on the moon.

Each book is estimated at $12,000-15,000, and represents a unique opportunity to see into the minds of those feeling their way towards that one small step. The sale takes place this Sunday December 13 in California.

Space collectors looking for Apollo 11 memorabilia should take a look at our signed photos of the Apollo 11 crew, including Neil Armstrong who hasn't signed in decades, and Michael Collins' flight suit. Our signed group photograph of the crew has already been sold.


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Images: I M Chait auctions

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