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    Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Unflown Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 120, Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Commander Tom Stafford, with Extensive Signed Letter of Authenticity. This 35mm sterling silver medal, though not flown, was minted to commemorate the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first international manned space effort. During July 17-19, 1975, following three years of preparations, three U.S. astronauts (Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton) and two Soviet cosmonauts (Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov) linked an Apollo spacecraft and a Soyuz capsule in Earth orbit. While docked for forty-four hours, the two crews visited each other's ships and conducted joint scientific experiments. The design shows the docking maneuver above the Earth, and the names of the mission and crew members. The reverse includes the title "First Joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. Space Flight" and the engraved dates. The serial number is on the rim along with the sterling and Robbins hallmarks. Original case with numbered sticker on the bottom included. Excellent.

    Included with this lot is an interesting signed LOA on Stafford, Burke and Hecker letterhead reading, in full: "The enclosed with is letter is a sterling silver Apollo Soyuz medallion that was part of the total group minted for the historic Apollo Soyuz docking mission during July 1975. The medallion features our mission emblem showing both Apollo and Soyuz space vehicles just prior to docking with the earth below and a brilliant sun above. The last names of all Apollo and Soyuz crew members are along the outer rim. The reverse side reads FIRST JOINT U.S. - U.S.S.R. FLIGHT. The Apollo launch date of July 15, 1975 and the Apollo entry date of July 24, 1975 are also engraved on the reverse. It has the serial number of 120 engraved along the rim. Included is the original Robbins plastic storage case. This medallion is one that was not carried on the flight.

    "Being the commander for the Apollo vehicle of Apollo Soyuz was the end of my long career as a NASA astronaut. I was selected in 1962 with the second group of astronauts and was pilot for the Gemini 6 mission of December 1965, which made the first manned rendezvous in space with Gemini 7. I next commanded Gemini IX in June 1966. When the Apollo flights started, I was selected to command Apollo X which carried the first Lunar Module (LM) to the moon. Gene Cernan and I took our LM we called Snoopy to within 50,000 feet of the surface. We tested and confirmed the techniques required to make the first lunar landing of Apollo 11 possible just two months later in July 1969.

    "Just after Apollo 11, the Soviets started conversations about a possible joint mission with the United States. After about two years, things began to show progress and the technical details started to enable an earth orbit flight during the summer of 1975. By late 1972, I was selected as Apollo Commander. Donald "Deke" Slayton and Vance Brand were soon added to my crew. The Russians picked Aleksei Leonov and Valery Kubasov to fly Soyuz. We had extensive training together for the next 21/2 years.

    "Soyuz was launched into orbit first on July 15 and my Apollo crew followed some 7½ hours later that day. After a nearly 2 day rendezvous sequence, we made the first manned docking of international space vehicles on July 17. After entering our common docking module, I opened the hatch and greeted Aleksei where we shook hands then exchanged gifts and ceremonial flags, plus signed certificates confirming this historic event. All five of us later shared various different periods of conducting scientific experiments inside our docking module during our 44 hour docked mission. We undocked with Soyuz and two jays later on July 21, Soyuz returned to earth. My crew remained in orbit and three days later returned to earth on July 24.

    "I had hoped that this flight would start a new beginning of U.S. and Soviet corporation. However, various world events continued the Cold War for over 15 more years. With the Soviet collapse in 1991, we finally moved closer on many fronts. Cooperation with the International Space Station is just once example of what Apollo Soyuz helped to start back in 1975."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    9th-11th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 241

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