Remarkable set of three Command Module cue cards flown and used on the return of Apollo 17, the final flight of the golden age of the Apollo lunar landings. Each is stamped “Flown to lunar orbit aboard the Apollo 17 CM ‘America,’” and signed in blue ink by Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan. The first is double-sided, measures 5.75 x 8, and displays a “Pre-Entry Attitude Timeline” on the reverse and “Entry” programs on the front, with extensive in-flight notations in blue ink by Cernan, including: time of the horizon check; spacecraft pitch at horizon check; IMU gimbal angles for trim at .05G; moonset GET; time of entry interface; time from entry interface that drogue parachutes will deploy; maximum number of Gs during entry; and planned drag level during the constant G phase.
The second, which was taped to the first during entry, is single-sided, measures 2.5 x 4.75, and displays the P61 and P62 ending programs, with in-flight notations in blue ink by Cernan, including: splashdown point latitude and longitude; maximum number of Gs during entry; entry flight path angle at entry interface; range to go to splashdown point; and predicted inertial velocity at .05G event.
The third, headed “Landing,” is triangular, measures 6.5 x 7, and displays steps for both the CSM’s entry and post landing from 90K altitude through Stabilization 1, with in-flight notations in black ink by Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, including: time of entry interface; time from interface to .05G event; time that communications blackout begins and ends; and time of drogue and main parachute deployment.
All cue cards bear affixed Velcro swatches. In overall fine condition, with expected wear from use. Accompanied by a photo of Cernan with the cards and a signed letter of provenance from Cernan, in part: “This is to certify that the accompanying 3 Apollo 17 CSM cue cards utilized for Pre-Entry, Entry, Landing, & Post-Landing of the Command Module were flown to the Moon aboard Command Service Module (CSM) ‘America’ during the historic last lunar landing mission of the Apollo space program. These lunar orbit flown Apollo 17 CSM cue cards were part of the command service module’s onboard flight data files (FDF) that we flew to the Moon on Apollo 17. They were affixed to the Command Module main display console (MDC) just prior to the very final stage of landing the Command Module ‘America’ in the Pacific Ocean. There is extensive in-flight notational writing on these cue cards that reflect the PAD values read up to the crew and entered into their Entry Checklist PAD page subsequent to MCC burn #7 on the final day…These cue cards remained in my possession as a treasured part of my personal space collection for 40 years.” Also includes a color satin-finish 10 x 8 photo of the Command Module’s console in which two of these cards can be seen, signed in black felt tip by Cernan, “2 of 3 entry/landing cue cards used are shown in this post landing photo inside CM ‘America,’ Gene Cernan, Apollo XVII CDR.” On December 19, 1972, following a successful final journey to the moon, the CM 'America' reentered Earth's atmosphere and landed in the Pacific Ocean at 2:25 PM, four miles from the recovery ship, USS Ticonderoga. A remarkable set of mission-used cue cards from the collection of the last man on the moon.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.