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    Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-3) Unflown Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 176, Originally from the Personal Collection of Astronaut Tom Stafford, with Detailed Signed Letter of Authenticity. This 35mm sterling silver medal, though not flown, is one 207 minted in commemoration of Columbia's third orbital test flight with Commander Jack Lousma and Pilot Gordon Fullerton. The obverse features the mission insignia with the shuttle emerging from a star design with the crew's surnames and Columbia around. The reverse includes their full names and the mission information, "March 22, 1982" and "March 30, 1982 / RW17 White Sands, NM". The serial number is found 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 a signed LOA on Stafford, Burke and Hecker letterhead reading, in full: "The Space Transportation System (STS) 3 sterling silver medallion enclosed with this letter was presented to me by my good friend Jack Lousma. He and Gordon Fullerton flew the third Space Shuttle mission during March 22 to 30, 1982. Jack commanded this third flight of Shuttle Columbia. His first space mission was back during the Skylab series of earth orbital flights, being Skylab II for 59 days in 1973. Gordon Fullerton's next flight was STS 51F during July and August of 1985.

    "This medallion is engraved with serial number 176 and is still in the plastic presentation case. It was not flown on the STS flight, thus does not have the letter "F" included with the serial number. Back during the Apollo days, all of the Robbins medallions that were minted were usually flown on their respective flights. The Apollo 14 crew carried some souvenir silver medallions that the Franklin Mint later used to make additional medallions blended with non-flown metal. The Franklin Mint then used those blended ones for promotional purposes. Once Deke Slayton became aware of this, he reduced the number of flown medallions by about half. Later the from the fall-out of the Apollo 15 postal envelope scandal, NASA put major restrictions on what could be carried on any space flight. That 15 crew of Dave Scott, Jim Irwin, and Al Worden ended up having some of the postal envelopes carried on their 1971 lunar mission being sold, with a good bit of the money going back to them. NASA investigated starting in 1972, and it became a mess. Some of the envelopes were approved as part of the astronaut's PPKs but many were not. NASA re-evaluated all personal flown items and the number of flown medallions suffered greater reductions. The Apollo 15 crew received reprimands.

    "During my own NASA career, I was pilot on Gemini 6 during December 1965. With dally Schirra, we made the first manned space rendezvous with Gemini 7. My first command was on Gemini IX with Gene Cernan as pilot in 1966. My first Apollo flight was the Apollo X lunar flight, testing the first Lunar. Module (LM) taken to the moon. Flying with Gene Cernan again, we flew our LM Snoopy to within 50,000 feet of the lunar surface. John Young was Command Module Pilot. We verified flight techniques which enabled Apollo 11 to make the first lunar landing just two months later during July 1969. My last space flight was on Apollo Soyuz during July 1975 and I retired from NASA to take command of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in California later that year. I retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant General in November 1979."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    9th-11th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 135

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