Sunday, July 19, 2009

Man on the Moon 1969

It was forty years ago, July 20 1969 that man first set foot on the moon. "It's some kind of dust I can kick it with my feet"

View of Earth rising over Moon's horizon taken from Apollo 11 spacecraft
This view of the Earth rising over the Moon's horizon was taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. The lunar terrain pictured is in the area of Smuth's Sea on the nearside. Coordinates of the center of the terrain are 85 degrees east longitude and 3 degrees north latitude.

The whole world was glued to their television sets, watching the event live, in real time, as Buzz Aldrin took that first step into the dust that covered the moons surface. I was in art school and we all watched together in awe and fascination, as boyhood dreams came true in the grainy black and white image relayed back millions of miles from the lunar surface.

This day a very special meaning for me because in the year before entering art school I worked on the Apollo Project. I was just a draftsman, but I drew the blueprints for a small obscure part which fit together with thousands of other parts which together made the lunar landing possible. Aside from the visible heros, there were thousands of us, scientists, enhgineers, mathematicians, machinists, electricians, philosophers, you name it, all working together with one single goal. Get him to the moon AND get him back safe.

In my opinion sending a man to the moon, and getting him back safely, is the single greatest technological feat in human history. We take it all for granted now, but in 1969 inspired forward by President Kennedy, this nation committed itself to a project which for all intents and purposes required a technology beyond what we had or could reasonably expect to have in the near future.

It was this monumental commitment to achieving the goal of putting a man on the moon which made the project successful. There is a lesson here for those of you born after this date. There is no doubt that some time in the future, humanity, not just a politic, will need to achieve the impossible. Going to the moon should serve as an inspiration.

Apollo 11 Bootprint
The bootprint marks one of the first steps human beings took on the Moon in July 1969. It was made by American astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. *Image Credit*: NASA

Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 exravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit.

The following selected items are from the Bonhams & Butterfields Sale #17402 - The Space Sale held in New York on Jul 16, 2009

Lot No: 167
Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Star Chart, a circular device, 9 inches in diameter. Consists of 2 thin plastic discs rotating around a central rivet. The lower disc shows the Earth, sun, planets and star patterns against a black background. The upper disc is a semi-transparent overlay. The back of the chart has a square patch of Velcro at the center and an inscription in ink by Aldrin.

The navigational chart used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to determine their exact position on the lunar surface just after their historic lunar landing. One of the few flight devices returned from the lunar surface to have come onto the market. The companion device used some 20 hours later to update Eagle's navigational equipment just prior to lunar lift-off is currently displayed at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Accompanied by a Typed Letter Signed by Buzz Aldrin, which reads: "Accompanying this letter is the actual star chart that Neil Armstrong and I used to determine our precise location just after we made history's first lunar landing on July 20, 1969. It is a circular device that has a movable translucent overlay with six over lapping circles. The stars and constellations are projected onto a black background above and below lines defined as the ecliptic and the lunar equator. The Sun, Earth, Venus, and other planets are marked as to their relative positions along the ecliptic plane. This star chart was the single most critical navigational device we used while on the Moon.
The chart has LM-TD+2 STAR CHART (A), LAUNCH JULY 16, 20 JULY 20:17:11 GMT printed near the edge of 270 degree point. TD was short for Touchdown with +2 meaning that the chart had its highest accuracy within 2 hours of landing. Touchdown was to be 20:17:11 Greenwich Mean Time on July 20, assuming a July 16 earth launch. We landed at 4:17 pm Eastern Daylight Time (20:17 GMT) which was within a minute of the planned time.
During the landing phase, we had several computer program alarms. They were unexpected and of the type we had never experienced during any training simulation. These alarms preoccupied Neil and I so much that we were concerned with a potential abort. Then Neil had to take command from our flight computer as it was sending us into a large boulder-filled crater. We landed with just seconds of fuel to spare, but well past our target point. I commanded the computer to give us our landing point then recorded that information on page 10 of our LM Timeline Book. That turned out to be the first writing by human hands on another celestial body.
Our Lunar Module's gyroscopic guidance equipment lost precision over time. It was imperative to re-align this equipment just after landing in case of an emergency lift-off or our inability to make such an adjustment for the scheduled lift-off some 22 hours after landing. We used this star chart in conjunction with our Alignment Optical Telescope (AOT). Neil logged over 30 measurements in our LM Data Card Book that I provided while using the AOT. Those circular areas on the chart overlay showed the AOT's field of view when moved to one of the six positions known as detents.
We did a series of dual star sightings using the AOT and this chart, then keyed in that information recorded in the LM Data Card Book while performing the P57 alignment procedures as define in our guidance dictionary. Completion of these tasks enabled us to carry out our lunar timeline and allowed Neil Armstrong to become the first human to set foot upon the Moon.
On the back of the star chart, there is a square velcro patch. It has an overall tint of gray with darker grayish material embedded within. Those gray areas are most likely lunar dust that came off our space suits or from various equipment such as the sample return container. I have inscribed and signed this side with: This star chart was used by Neil Armstrong and myself while on the lunar surface during July 20 - 21, 1969. Buzz Aldrin, Apollo XI Lunar Module Pilot."

Sold for $218,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
Photo:Bonhams - 3 views stiched together.

Lot No: 217
"Tranquillity Base: Surface and Experiment Locations Map," Mapping Sciences Laboratory, MSC, 1970, 22 by 17 inches.

A highly detailed surface map of the Apollo 11 landing area, partly based on surface photography by the crew. Inscribed "My Footprints! Buzz Aldrin, LMP." He has marked his footprints made during the moon walk, as well as Armstrong's sample collection trek to Little West crater. Eagle's position is shown at the center, and the map shows the locations of the TV camera, US flag, laser reflector, solar wind experiment, seismometer, and most craters.

Sold for $2,745 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Lot No: 141
"Plotboard 1: Launch," sheet from a pen plotter, stamped "Mission only," NASA, December 20, 1968, approximately 30 by 30 inches.

An artifact which recorded history from inside Mission Control during man's first journey to the moon on the Saturn V rocket.
Inscribed by Apollo 8 Command Module Pilot James Lovell: "First men launched to the moon." Additionally inscribed by a North American Aviation engineer with the time it was removed from the plotboard (December 21, 1968, 13:20:56 GMT).
On this chart, the launch vehicle Inertial Velocity in KFPS (1000 feet per second) is the x-axis, the Inertial Flight Path Angle in degrees being the y-axis. Several heavy pencil-lined curves were made prior to launch to indicate the nominal or expected flight paths. Three green line plots were made during the actual launch.
A Mission Control projection device allowed this chart to be viewed during launch on one of the large screens that faced all flight controllers. The green plotting line traces the heavy pencil outline almost perfectly during initial measurements. As the launch progressed, an alarming major deviation occurred about the mid-point on one of the plots. This could have potentially endangered the crew but was determined to be the result of "noisy" telemeter data. The mission was allowed to progress to the moon.

Estimate: $4,000 - 6,000

Note: This was from the Apolloo 8 mission in 1968, but I thught it was a nice drawing.

Lot No: 1
Model of the Mercury spacecraft, steel, fiberglass and plastic, 32 inches tall when assembled and on a white-painted wood stand, with 3 major components:
1. A gray conical spacecraft, 9 by 8 inches, featuring a retro rocket package at the base of the heat shield, a 6 by 4 inch curved window showing a blue space-suited astronaut inside the pressure vessel in a form-fitting survival couch, controls next to the couch at the astronaut's fingertips; below oxygen bottles, fuel tanks, and various electronic equipment, the interior walls with outlines of the entry/exit hatch, an additional control panel, and a viewing window.
2. A cylindrical recovery compartment, 4 by 3 by 3 inches, which would hold the recovery parachute and other related equipment in the actual flight vehicle ñ each end with a set of three key-holes for attachment to the pressure vessel and the escape tower.
3. A capsule emergency separation device or escape tower with rockets, 18 inches long, that consists of a black metal tower assembly and a gray fiberglass rocket package with three small red nozzles, the base of the tower with three notched pegs marrying up with the recovery compartment.

Identical to the Mercury spacecraft model shown at the first public announcement of the seven pilots selected to be astronauts for Project Mercury. The press conference was held in Washington, on April 9, 1959, and was the climax of screening over 500 military test pilots beginning in 1958. During the press conference a reporter asked which astronaut was ready to go into space at that moment. All seven raised their hands and the press cameras clicked away. In that photograph, a model identical to this one is in front of the astronauts.

Sold for $21,960 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Lot No: 107
Apollo Command Module rocket engine, made by Rocketdyne, Model SE-8, steel and ablative material, 14 inches long and 3Ω inches wide at nozzle base. Fuel and oxidizer valve assemblies are at the top with the associated electrical wiring connections. An ablative nozzle is at the bottom. Internal components consist of a block of ablative material and sleeve, refractory throat insert, and a stainless steel shell. A Rocketdyne ID label reads in part: "Propulsion System Component, Part Name: Rocket Engine Assembly, Part No. 99-106003, Model No. SE 8-2, Date of Mfg. 2Q 64 (second quarter, 1964) Serial No. 4058366."

A set of 12 of these bi-propellant engines provided the Command Module with rotation control, rate damping, and attitude control after separation from the Service Module and during re-entry. The engine has had several test firings.
Signed by Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra, and Tom Stafford on the engine casing with their Apollo mission numbers.
Sold for $7,320 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Lot No: 109
Positive expulsion titanium fuel tank. Approximately 25 inches tall and 12 inches in diameter. A metal ID tag reads: ìBell Aerosystems Company, Division of Bell Aerospace Corporation. Item Name: Tank (N2H4, UDMH) Positive Expulsion Ö Manufacturing Date: 12-15-65, Contract No. - NAS9-150.î The tag also has additional identification, pressure ratings and control numbers.

A flight-qualified tank designed to supply fuel to the attitude control rockets which were mounted on the exterior of the Service Module (SM). The SM reaction control system had four sets of four rocket engines that used hypergolic propellants. This is one of eight tanks designed to supply Unsymmetrical DiMethyl Hydrazine (UDMH) fuel for those engines. During flight operations, a teflon bladder inside the tank would be pressurized with helium to force the UDMH contained inside the tank out to the rocket engines. This was required due to the weightless conditions of space flight. With a copy of an Bell Aerospace description of these tanks.

Sold for $1,220 inclusive of Buyer's Premium