An incredibly rare Lunar Module Translation Control Assembly rocketed to the top spot at RR Auction last night (May 23), as the best-selling item in its space and aviation memorabilia sale.
The assembly was never flown, but was designed for use by the Apollo astronauts to control translation of the lunar module in any axis. It sold for an impressive $72,151.
The piece comprises a T-handle hand controller with an external friction knob that controls the drag on the T-handle. There is also a vertical lever to select between "Throttle" or "Jets".
As RR Auction states, the importance of the controller to the lunar landings cannot be over-emphasised, as it gave the astronauts the ability to gently land on the Moon with varying degrees of thrust.
It was just such a control that Neil Armstrong was forced to use when he took manual control of the Lunar Module when it was headed for a boulder-strewn area. There has never been another example offered at auction.
Among aviation memorabilia, the top lot was a collection of sketches drawn by the Wright Brothers for their French student Paul Tissandier, whom they trained to pilot the Wright Flyer after securing a contract in France in 1908.
Showing several views of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the place where the brothers experimented for three years up to their first successful flight in 1903, as well as diagrams of the plane's wings, the sketches are believed to be unique. They sold for $37,541.
PFC Auctions is currently offering a great selection of space memorabilia, including an Apollo 11 crew-signed photograph showing Neil Armstrong on the Moon and a fantastic photograph of Armstrong with a bold autograph.