Lovell's Apollo 13 notes auction for $84,000 at Bonhams

A page bearing Jim Lovell's notes from the fateful Apollo 13 mission led Bonhams' Space History auction in New York on March 25.

Lovell Apollo 13 notes
The notes were sent from Mission Control and hastily recorded by Lovell and Haise on the page's blank space during the flight

The heavily annotated sheet shows the fast-thinking commander's thought processes as he struggled to return his crew safely to Earth. A remarkable document, it sold for $84,100.

Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970, but ran into trouble two days later when an oxygen tank exploded during the mission. In order to ensure that the crew would survive, an engine burn known as MC-5, or Mid-Course Correction number 5, was carried out.

It was this process that is dramatised in the 1995 film Apollo 13, and is the same detailed on the sheet. Lovell made hundreds of notes, corrections and diagrams across the page, as he wrestled with the hastily assembled plan.

The page was accompanied in the sale by a detailed letter of provenance from the lunar module pilot Fred W Haise Jr, who has signed the page along with Lovell. It had remained in Haise's collection since 1970.

A data card containing some of Neil Armstrong's most extensive notes from the Apollo 11 mission followed in the sale, selling for $64,900. The data card, one of only two used by Armstrong during the mission, is the only one with data recorded by all three Apollo 11 crew members.

This complete set of signed photographs of all 12 Moonwalkers charts the history of man's adventures on the Moon, and with four of the astronauts no longer with us, it is also an increasingly rare find.

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