"Farewell Aquarius, and We Thank You"Apollo 13 Flown Lunar Module Spacecraft Identification Plate Display Directly from the Personal Collection of Mission Commander James Lovell, Certified and Signed. A metal plate of 5.25" x 1.75" mounted to a 10" x 11" wooden display plaque beneath a metal die-cut representation of the lunar module and an engraved brass explanatory plate with the words:
"FAREWELL AQUARIUS, AND WE THANK YOU"
Capt. J. Lovell - F. Haise - J. Swigert, Jr.
On April 17, 1970, two and one half hours before the reentry of the crippled Apollo 13 spacecraft, Lovell, Swigert, and Haise had to climb back into the Command Module Odyssey to (hopefully) fire it back up for the final portion of the ride home. The Lunar Module Aquarius had to be jettisoned as it had no heat shield and was not designed to withstand the extreme heat generated during the plunge through Earth's atmosphere. This was an emotional time for the crew as Aquarius was the "lifeboat" that literally saved their lives. With Odyssey revived and the hatch shut and sealed, the crew exploded the small bolts that cast off Aquarius. "LM jettison," reported Apollo 13. "O.K.," replied Mission Control CapCom Joe Kerwin, "Farewell, Aquarius, and we thank you." "She sure was a good ship," commented Lovell.
Engraved on the plaque from the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. is the following:
CAPT. J. LOVELL - F. HAISE - LT. CDR. T. K. MATTINGLY
Note the inclusion of Mattingly in the crew list. Ken Mattingly was scheduled to be the Apollo 13 command module pilot but was exposed to German measles to which he was not immune. Three days before the flight, backup Command Module Pilot John L. Swigert took his place. There was obviously no time to have this plate replaced.
Three of these Lunar Module 7 Identification Plates were flown aboard Apollo 13 and returned to Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. who then mounted each ID plate on a shield-shaped wall plaque; one was presented to each crewmember. This plate would have flown to the moon's surface in the Lunar Module Aquarius had the mission not been shortened due to the explosion on board. A rare chance to own a piece of space history. Very fine condition with just a few nicks in the wood.
At the top left of this wooden plaque, Lovell has written in silver: "From the personal collection of James Lovell". On the back, he has written: "Apollo 13 Lunar Module/ name plate -- removed/ prior to jettison LM./ James Lovell".
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