Important Apollo 11 Navigational Star Chart Signed by Buzz Aldrin with LOA.Apollo 11 Command Module Flown Trans-Lunar Coast Black Star Chart signed on the verso by Buzz Aldrin. Approximately 16" x 8" on plastic film, rolled in a tube (minor emulsion chipping at the edges noted for accuracy). Titled at the top "CSM TLC STAR CHART (B)/ LAUNCH JULY 21" Degrees of latitude and longitude are marked around the edges with the important navigational stars are numbered, circled, and larger than others. The sun and the planets are in color for easy differentiation. There are three stars noted that you may not find on other star charts. Gus Grissom was involved with the early planning and production of the Apollo star charts. When they were deciding on which stars to number and name, he made up names for three of the stars in tribute to his fellow Apollo 1 crewmembers. Star number 3 was called "Navi" which is his own middle name Ivan spelled backwards. Star number 17 was named "Regor" which is Roger (Chaffee) spelled backwards. Star number 20 was "Dnoces" which is Second (Ed White II) spelled backwards. After the tragic deaths of this crew in a training accident, NASA decided to leave these names on the charts as a tribute.
This type of chart had a very important function on the flight. It was used in conjunction with the onboard guidance system to confirm to the astronauts and ground control the exact location of the spacecraft at a given moment. The astronaut would locate a star optically and type in the code found on the star chart into the DSKY (display and keyboard unit). This would cause the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) to run a program that updated the IMU (inertial measurement unit). When completed, the position of the spacecraft would be known. This particular chart, as notated, is for the TLC (Trans Lunar Coast) portion of the flight (on the way to the moon).
Not only did these black star charts aid in navigation but they were handy for other uses. In a television broadcast from Apollo 11 on the trip to the moon (the TLC), Buzz Aldrin was giving a tour of the spacecraft and pointed the camera at the window holding the star chart (possibly this very one) and comments about how well it functions as a sun shade. Due to it being on clear film, the black part blocked the sun, but the stars were brightly illuminated.
Man has navigated using heavenly bodies ever since first stepping into a boat in search of another land to explore. The advent of computers and rocket propulsion did not negate the need for using the stars to determine location and destination. This item is an essential part of the voyage of Apollo 11 to the moon, the first manned landing on another heavenly body. Its value should not be underestimated; it is an historic relic that would be at home in the finest private or institutional collection.
Included with this lot is a signed Letter of Authenticity from Buzz Aldrin from when it was originally sold in Superior Galleries January 1993 Space Sale. A copy of the original catalog is also included, as well as a collection of photocopies pertaining to the original purchase of the chart at the 1993 Superior Galleries sale.
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