Apollo Lunar Module Ascent Stage Cabin Relief and Dump Valve Plug, Replicator Test Item. A 5.375" diameter x 3.125" deep (overall) heavy piece of hardware fabricated from a solid piece of titanium. It would have been located forward of the starboard pilot's left leg. Once the astronauts were suited up for a moon walk, the cabin would be depressurized by opening the dump valve and letting the air out. Though not flown (or eligible for flight), its history is only scarcely less interesting than if it had. This particular artifact is a construction method test article. Dump valve disks, flight-assigned titanium moon rock hammers, and other simple shapes were the first objects ever to be cut by machine using what was then affectionately named "rudimentary transporter technology." The phrase referred to experiments demonstrating that 3-D computerized instructions for replicating an object in a room located on the opposite coast of North America was a feasible, albeit expensive, concept. To cut these objects, 3-D blueprints were transmitted by phone line from as far away as California to the Grumman machine shop in Bethpage, New York, where computer-controlled machines duplicated the shapes remotely. Though the process worked (and is now common throughout the world), after 1967 it was decided that no critical space-flight items should be allowed to go from "the replicator" onto the spacecraft. In those days, an object not manufactured by human hands and not under the direct control of human eyes was not to be trusted. (However, all solid titanium geological tools that went to the moon - including the rod to which Alan Shepard attached his golf club-head - were manufactured by replicator programs). Excellent condition. From the collection of scientist and author Charles Pellegrino.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    3rd Friday
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