Description

    Grumman construction log for the Apollo 11 LM Eagle.

    Grumman Apollo 11 Lunar Module Handwritten Construction and Testing Log Book. A May to December 1968 log, in original Grumman sequencing (not chronological), with approximately sixty-five single-sided handwritten 8" x 11" pages in binder, of construction and testing of LM-5 (Eagle), the first ship to land on the moon. It was written in Ace Room III, where electronics and attitude control rockets were being tested (and occasionally redesigned or replaced). The last entry in this volume is dated December 31, 1968, shortly after Apollo 8 returned from its trip into moon orbit. Written in the hands of Joe Neilsen, P. Rosone, B. Zegaroski, T. Woods, and other Apollo engineers, this Log is like peering into a time capsule. This volume is the original, and the only one in existence. It contains the actual handwritten pages in blue and black ink and pencil - which include the entry (5/21/68) in which Paul Rosone included a hand-drawn illustration in response to a decision about "lines that will be broken to install 490 pack (long story)" and (9/18/68) Joe Neilsen's ink-smudged fingerprints on a page describing his very frustrating night with the attitude control rocket valves. These pages are the original written, dated, and signed sheets by the top Apollo engineers who wrote them. A true museum piece, filled with untold nuggets for the discerning collector or historian. Very fine condition.

    This is one of the logs consulted by Charles Pellegrino during the writing of Chariots for Apollo. It is the one from which originates J. Neilsen's October 31, 1968, entry about the floor of the LM-5 cabin being removed for a change-out of the ascent stage engine: "Crew Compartment Fit and Functional Team has $3,000,000 worth of equipment in the cabin, and they are locking it up and posting guards around it (with machine guns), so I couldn't go inside."

    The log documents May and June 1968 tests of LM-5 engines under vacuum, and a surprisingly high number of electrical and valve problems with the attitude control thrusters (called "quads"), followed by hand-drawn revisions of electronics (10/24/68) and an apparently nervous hand doodling at the top of the page, around the word "LOG," followed by disputes over whether rewiring should be completed before or after test firing of quads.

    Other events: 11/12/68, J. Neilsen notes that he was unable to assist with LM-5 wiring because he had been called away and "was busy on LM-7 [Apollo 13]." Within this same time frame, Neilsen was also being called away to work simultaneously on LM-6 (Apollo 12). The exhausted engineer wrote a poignant plea in the log, begging for a break in the intense schedule so he could keep a promise to take his wife to a dance. The Log shows that he was able to get rocket scientist Bill Voorhest to take his place; but Neilsen was still needed at LM-5, and wrote, "I'll come in but reluctantly (if my wife doesn't shoot me)." 11/19/68, hand-drawn charts outlining good and bad sequences in firing "quads." 11/23/68, quad wiring problems persist; power down and depressurize vehicle. 12/4/68, problems are noted with the landing radar (the same system that would lock on itself and initiate false Master Alarm warnings throughout the first lunar landing). Leak problems with corrosive propellants are noted throughout the Log, with Neilsen mentioning the brazers (Artie Falbush and John Logalbo). Falbush and Logalbo solved the fuel leak problems by inventing solid gold brazing methods. The last two pages of the LM-5 Construction Log refer to the leak problems finally being solved, clearing a path to the moon.

    The Log includes a copy of the cover page from Ross Fleisig's Phase III Reliability Report, dated November 20, 1968: "Reportable failures have gone down from (205 for) KM-3, to (74 for) LM-4, 57 (for) LM-5... Significantly improved vehicle... Low [says] this is very likely to be the LM to land on the moon - it should be." From the collection of scientist and author Charles Pellegrino.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    30th Wednesday
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