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    Apollo Biological Isolation Garment

    Apollo 11: Biological Isolation Garment (BIG) as Worn by the Crew When Exiting the Command Module after Splashdown and While on Their Way to the Hornet's Mobile Quarantine Facility, with Associated Life Preserver. An adjustable full-body suit with built-in medical rubber gloves, boots, and a face mask; an American flag patch is found on the left upper arm and a NASA "meatball" logo patch is attached to the left breast. Inside is the original manufacturer's tag that reads:

    Biological Isolation Garment
    P/N: SEB34100344-303
    Size: M.L. S/N: 1109
    Contract No.: NAS 9-9256
    Date of Mfg.: 3-19-69
    Mfg. By: B. Welson Co.

    Also included is an Underarm Pneumatic Life Preserver, LPU-3/P, made by Air Cruisers Co., a Division of The Garrett Corporation. It has a Defense Supply Agency contract number and a manufacturing date of October 1968.

    Before the first lunar landing missions, scientists were concerned that the earth could possibly be contaminated by lunar organisms. The plan was devised that a Biological Isolation Garment (BIG) would be developed for the Underwater Demolition Team (wearing a similar garment) to deliver to the astronauts while still in the command module floating in the ocean. The astronaut crew would don their BIGs inside the capsule and be hoisted up to a waiting helicopter to take them to the Recovery Ship and the awaiting MQF.

    The BIG was developed jointly by the Crew Systems Division and the Landing & Recovery Division. This suit was designed to cover the entire body as a biological barrier and is made of a close-knit lightweight material; the face mask has a plastic visor, an air inlet flapper valve, and an air outlet biological filter to prevent contamination of the air. Pathogen containment was the main requirement but the comfort, mobility, and safety of the astronauts were major considerations. Apparently that was not considered quite enough as all three members of the Apollo 11 crew complained of discomfort from overheating and visor fogging. Michael Collins said: "Inside the g-d- BIG, I'm not only roasting by now but almost blinded by a fogged visor." Luckily for later crews, they only had to don a lightweight coverall and mask respirators.

    Actually, Apollo 11 was the second mission to use the BIGs. It's a little-known fact that upon the landing of the earth-orbit mission Apollo 9, a group of stand-in astronauts and a NASA doctor, garbed in these same suits, entered an MQF for a test of how the quarantine process would work for Apollo 11. The astronauts themselves were spared the discomfort of quarantine while valuable data was still being gathered for future use.

    These suits, with their limited period of use, were manufactured in small quantities. We are not aware of another being offered at public auction previously. This is a rare opportunity to own an unbelievably rare piece of Space history, one just as displayable as the Buzz Aldrin BIG found in the Smithsonian. Don't let this one get away from you. We expect fierce bidding. Condition is very good to fine with wear evident on the face mask in particular and a zipper that appears to be stuck in the open position.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2019
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,444

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