Complete flown Command Service Module Updates checklist carried aboard Apollo 17, used by the entire crew and heavily annotated by Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans. Checklist consists of 53 heavy cardstock 6 x 8 pages (including covers) bound by 3 metal rings, titled on the front, “Apollo 17, CSM Updates, Part No. SKB32100123–330, S/N 1001,” and boldly certified and signed on the cover by Cernan in blue felt tip, “Flown on Apollo XVII, Gene Cernan.” Of the 51 pages within the checklist, there are 25 pages with writing on them, 21 are heavily noted by Schmitt and Evans with PADs, and four otherwise blank pages are certified and signed by Cernan, “Flown, Gene Cernan.” Each page is dated “8/7/72,” and all but the title page are double-sided. There are six tabs in the checklist: “P30 Maneuver,” “P37 Block Data,” “Earth Orbit Block Data,” “P27 Update,” “P24 LDMK Tracking,” and lastly, “Flight Plan Update.” Cernan has written flown certifications in black felt tip inside the checklist twelve times, each on separate pages (including all tabbed pages except for the first), “Flown, Gene Cernan.” Schmitt and Evan’s mission notes, in bold black felt tip, are all located on the first 11 pages (each double-sided) under the beginning “P30 Maneuver” tab. These pages list subjects such as: “Set Stars,” “R Align,” “P Align,” “Y Align,” “Ullage,” and six columns on which Schmitt and Evan’s recorded a multitude of numbers. Some of their handwritten notes on these pages read: “1. Burn Docked, 2. PTL reformat, 3. LM 36281,” “LM 36281, P - 21, Y - 181, perilun 53.1,” “Burn docked, PTC reformat,” “1. Burn docked, 2. LOI refsmat,” “LM 36312, SING BK 6:51,” “1. Burn and k, 2. Assume DOI-I,” “1. Burn and k, 2. Assume No Circ., 3. -140.9° Long (Lunar) At TIG,” “1. Burn und k, 2. Assume CIRC, 3. -147.62° Lunar Long at Tig,” “At TIG - 178.34, Assumes no plane change,” “4 Jet, 12 sec, TIG = -156.91°, Assumes Trim & LOPC burn, Assumes liftoff refsmmat.” Six of Cernan’s twelve handwritten flight certifications, “Flown, Gene Cernan,” are located on these first eleven pages within the “P30 Maneuver” tab.
Accompanied by a 2006 certificate of authenticity signed by Cernan, reading, in part: “This is to certify that the accompanying Apollo 17 CSM...Updates checklist...was flown into lunar orbit in December 1972 aboard the command module ‘America’...an example of a completely intact checklist...has fifty-three pages containing data cards for mission updates concerning potential maneuvers such as mid course corrections...the data cards covered such maneuvers as SPS burns (P30), Apollo Guidance Computer updates (P27), Return to Earth abort (P37), and landmark tracking (P24) on the Earth and the Moon...this Apollo checklist has remained a treasured part of my personal space collection for thirty three years, ever since NASA presented it back to me in 1973, after my return from the Moon...the complete checklist remains both a historic tool and a rare example of an astronaut flight certified flown artifact from the Apollo era missions.” Loosely tied to one of the metal rings is Cernan’s own artifact identification manila tag labeled in black felt tip, “GC0012,” which is directly mentioned in his certification letter as a cataloging tool for his personal collection.
Throughout the duration of the mission, large lists of numbers, otherwise know as PADs (Pre-Advisory Data), were read by mission control up to the crew to provide them with the necessary information to accomplish a given maneuver. Houston had decided long ago that, in case of loss of communications, the astronauts should never be without the coordinates to return to Earth manually. P30’s importance was to predict the change (or anticipated change) in velocity associated with burning the Command Service Module’s main engine. In this case, it appears the calculation is being entered to determine the duration of the Service Propulsion System (SPS) burn (which equates to a change in velocity or ‘Delta V’) that would be required to insert the spacecraft back on a return trajectory to Earth after Lunar Orbit Insertion. This historic checklist documents the last Trans Earth Insertion (TEI), the engine burn that brought the boys home for the last time. Single flown checklist pages are highly sought-after themselves, rendering an entirely complete astronaut certified checklist an extremely desirable rarity—especially from the Commander of the final Apollo mission. This is one of the last complete checklists of it’s kind in private hands. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.