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Lot
41133

Apollo 14 Lunar Surface Worn "MITCHELL" Spacesuit Name Tag, Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Lunar Module Pi...

2010 April Grand Format Space Exploration Auction #6037

 
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Auction Ended On: Apr 21, 2010
Item Activity: 2 Internet/mail/phone bidders Number of Bidders
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Location:

Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Apollo 14 Lunar Surface Worn "MITCHELL" Spacesuit Name Tag, Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell, Signed and Certified. A 4.375" x 1" (folded dimensions) Beta cloth tag that was a part of the spacesuit worn by Dr. Edgar D. Mitchell while he spent more than nine hours on the lunar surface during the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971. The gray-colored smudges evident in the photo are traces of lunar dust. He has written on the verso: "WORN on the MOON/ Edgar Mitchell". This name tag has been sonically encapsulated into an archival 7" x 3.75" display with the text: "FLIGHT RECOVERED - LUNAR SURFACE/ Edgar D. Mitchell A7L Spacesuit Name Tag" printed on the front. NASA tradition is that astronauts are presented with their spacesuit patches after each flight by the Crew Systems Division as a souvenir. Excellent condition.

Apollo 14 was the third manned lunar landing mission, January 31, 1971 - February 9, 1971, with Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Command Module Pilot Stuart A. Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell aboard. Apollo 14 entered lunar orbit on February 4; the Command Module Kitty Hawk and Lunar Module Antares separated and the LM landed at the Fra Mauro formation early in the morning of February 5. A few hours later, Shepard and Mitchell started their first EVA (moonwalk) during which they: collected lunar rock samples; deployed the TV, antenna, U.S. flag, and the Solar Wind experiment; photographed the LM and the lunar surface; and conducted seismic experiments. The second moonwalk took place early the next morning where they used the mobile equipment transporter (MET or "lunar rickshaw") to make a geological journey toward the rim of Cone Crater, collecting samples and taking more photos during the trip. Altogether, Shepard and Mitchell (and this name tag) spent nine hours and twenty-two minutes exploring the lunar surface. Antares lifted off the moon the afternoon of February 6 and docked with the Kitty Hawk in which Roosa had been orbiting, taking astronomical and surface photos. They returned to Earth, splashing down in the South Pacific less than 1000 meters from their target. This was a very successful mission and some fortunate bidder will be able to own an important relic from that mission.

Of the twelve moonwalkers' name tags, those from Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are on permanent display at the Smithsonian; Alan Bean's has been fragmented to be added to the paint he uses for his wonderful space art. That leaves nine extant. On the rare occasion that these spacesuit name tags have ever sold, it's almost always as part of a set of four which includes the name tag, a NASA logo patch, an American flag, and the mission insignia patch; the prices for these sets have reached $350,000 more than once. It has been a number of years since any other lunar surface-worn name tag has been offered to the public. It might be many more years before another becomes available. Don't let this amazing opportunity pass you by. The centerpiece for any space collection.

Included with this lot is a signed, illustrated Letter of Certification from Dr. Mitchell dated February 22, 2008. It reads as follows:
"This is to certify that the accompanying - Apollo Spacesuit Name Tag - imprinted with the name 'MITCHELL' and inscribed by me on its verso as 'Worn on the Moon', is the actual Apollo spacesuit name tag worn by me on the Moon during February 5th and 6th, 1971.

"This Apollo Name Tag was worn on my spacesuit during the entire duration of the Apollo 14 voyage, which included nine hours of moonwalks on the lunar surface with fellow astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. Remarkably, the smudges of dark material appearing within this name tag are almost certainly 'lunar dust', given its direct exposure to the one-sixth lunar gravity environment during both my moonwalks.

"During the Apollo Program, it was NASA policy to remove each astronaut's spacesuit patches after flight, and then present them to the astronaut as a personal memento to do with as they wished.

"I was thus presented with the accompanying Apollo spacesuit name tag by NASA's Crew Systems Division, which then became a treasured part of my personal space collection for over thirty years.

"This Historic Artifact represents the name tag worn by one of the first six humans to walk on the Moon, and is also a rare example of an Apollo Moonwalker's spacesuit name tag residing in private hands."

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