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  • Apollo 13 flown checklist could guide Heritage's Space sale home
  • Post author
    Will Davison
  • 13Apollochecklistflown

Apollo 13 flown checklist could guide Heritage's Space sale home

Although it never landed on the moon, Apollo 13 is the best remembered moon mission other than the first successful one, Apollo 11. The crew's nailbiting return captured the minds of everyone who remembers it or studied the details ever since, and it inspired a successful movie of the same name.

Given that, it is extraordinary that an item appearing in Heritage's upcoming space auction is not in a museum.

It is an Apollo 13 Flown LM Systems Activation Checklist Book from the collection of Mission Commander James Lovell featuring course calculations that allowed Apollo 13 to find its way home.

The 8" x 6" checklist of seventy pages (many tabbed) is printed on light cardstock, three hole-punched and held together by binder rings; the heavy back board cover is present, the front is not. It is signed and certified by Lovell.

Apollo 13 flown checklist
A few sheets of card between them and disaster... The Apollo 13 flown checklist

Here is an extract from the conversation referring to the numbers therein:

058:04:01 CC (CAPCOM)
Go ahead, Aquarius.
058:04:03 CDR (LOVELL)
Houston. Okay. I want you to double check my arithmetic to make sure we got a good course align- The roll CAL angle was minus 2 degrees. The command module angles were 355.57, 167.78, 351.87.
058:04:36 CC (CAPCOM)
Okay, Jim. We copy the roll CAL at minus 2.0. The command module is 355.57, 167.78, 351.87.
058:05:19 LMP (HAISE)
Okay. VERB 41, we've done that. Okay.
058:07:11 CC (CAPCOM)
Okay, Jack. Thank you. And, Aquarius, your arithmetic looks good on the course align, there.
058:07:20 CMP (SWIGERT)
Okay. Okay stand by for an ENTER.
058:07:26 CMP (SWIGERT)
Three -
058:07:39 CMP (SWIGERT)
Get the GET; we need the GET. What is it? What's that? 58? 58:07?
058:08:15 CMP (SWIGERT)
58 what?
058:09:16 CDR (LOVELL)
Houston, Aquarius.
058:09:18 CC (CAPCOM)
Go ahead, Aquarius.
058:09:23 CDR (LOVELL)
Here are the gimbal angles. Command module, 356.69, 163.42, 346.67. Aquarius is 302.26, 345.92, 011.79. Over.
058:09:47 CC (CAPCOM)
Okay, Jim. I got command module 356.65 [sic], 163.42, 346.67. Aquarius, 302.26, 345.92, 011.78.

This dialogue is recreated in a pivotal scene in the movie, as the crew and team on Earth alike knew that once the numbers were entered the die was cast.

Lovell summed the situation up: "We've got negative visibility in our star field, and if this paperwork isn't right, who knows where we'll end up out here."

The flown checklist is expected to achieve $25,000-35,000, though if anything this seems like an underestimate.

  • Post author
    Will Davison
  • 13Apollochecklistflown