Apollo 12 Flown Saturn V Boost Trajectory "Cue Card" with Letters of Authenticity. Printed cardboard chart, approximately 2.5 x 5.5", with Velcro attachment on verso. On November 14, 1969, thirty-six seconds after liftoff, Apollo 12's Saturn V rocket booster was struck by lightning, causing the command module's instruments to go offline and Mission Control to lose telemetry feeds from the spacecraft. Although power to the spacecraft was quickly restored, data feeds were garbled and reported incomplete with possibly inaccurate information. The situation worsened when a second lightning bolt struck the rocket 52 seconds into the mission, jolting the navigation system within the command module. Mission control engineers had never experienced such a situation and were unsure whether the mission should continue or be aborted. Eventually, the Apollo 12 astronauts and mission control engineers were able to salvage the mission, but only through out-of-the-box thinking, and this small printed card made it possible.

    The card is accompanied by a one-page handwritten testimonial, on Apollo 12 letterhead, by command module pilot Richard Gordon, which reads in part: "[The card] relates the performance of the Saturn V during launch so that the crew could verify its performance by comparing the data from the Command Module Computer... After the lightning strike... all the crew had was attitude (roll, pitch & yaw) from the back-up reference system. We matched time against pitch angle allowing us to verify the Saturn V's flight profile. Talk about comfort level!!!" Also included with this item is an engraved document of authenticity, stating that the trajectory card was "Flown with Conrad, Gordon, and Bean aboard Yankee Clipper to the Moon November 1969." All items are in very fine condition. From the collection of Richard Gordon.

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2008
    25th-26th Tuesday-Wednesday
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