Collectors and alternative investors love to get their hands on space flown items.
But have you ever wondered where the space-flown flags, patches and mementoes that generate such interest at auction are stored on NASA flights?
Atlantis is currently above us on the final space shuttle mission. On board, in a tightly packed container known as the Official Flight Kit, or OFK, are thousands of items of future space-flown memorabilia.
These include more than 20,000 US flags, 4,000 space station patches, 2,000 shuttle mission patches, as well as around 900 flags from the US military and assorted countries.
These items will be handed out to employees and organisations on the space programme, as well as other figures instrumental to the success of the mission, according to collectSPACE.
Some will eventually turn up at auction, such as the Michigan flag flown aboard Apollo 15, which recently made $2,150.
Its sale is a reminder of the power of space-flown items, and space memorabilia in general.
Each crew member also has an allowance for 20 small private mementoes, which are stored in their Personal Preference Kits (PPKs). These items are often distributed to close family members after touch down.
Former naval aviator and commander of Atlantis' final mission, Chris Ferguson, divulged some of his personal pieces.
"I am taking a medallion that will celebrate the centennial of naval aviation," he told collectSPACE.
"It's a milestone for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard as they celebrate 100 years of flying."
These more personal items are particularly sought after by collectors who love a story behind a piece, but unfortunately they rarely appear at auction. But when next they do, Paul Fraser Collectibles will tell you all about it.
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