Buzz Aldrin's steps to leave the moon

As we've reported, Bonhams Space History sale is selling a signed checklist used on board Apollo 13 - the famous near tragedy of a failed moon landing.

Even more exciting for space memorabilia collectors, however, is a signed, printed sheet of instructions for the conclusion of the first successful moon landing, which will appear in the sale.

Whilst his recent exit from Dancing with the Stars was no doubt an experience, Buzz Aldrin's most famous exit was a little more hair-raising.

The section of the mission when Buzz and Neil Armstrong returned to the Eagle to attempt a re-launch and successful docking with Columbia was regarded by all concerned as the most worrying part of the whole journey.

Apollo 11 instructions to leave the moon
Apollo 11 instructions to leave the moon

It was thought to be quite likely that the Eagle's engines would simply fail to fire, or if they did that they might not do so with enough force to escape the moon's gravity.

Command pilot Michael Collins fretted about this whilst waiting in orbit, wondering if he could live with himself if forced to return to Earth alone. Back on earth Richard Nixon had even prepared a speech for use if the re-launch failed.

In the event, the instructions served them well, and the mission was a complete success.

As part of the same lot is a letter from Aldrin describing his whole experience of the moon landing and take-off, including references to the instructions. The lot is estimated at $70,000-90,000.

Bonhams auction - which also includes parts from the Spirit of St Louis - takes place on Tuesday 13 April in New York.


Image: Bonhams

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