Lot #6231
Apollo CSM Block II Fuel Cell Assembly

Extremely rare Command Service Module fuel cell—the power plant for manned flight
This lot has closed

Estimate: $25000+

Description

Extremely rare Command Service Module fuel cell—the power plant for manned flight

Apollo CSM Fuel Cell Powerplant Assembly manufactured by Pratt & Whitney under subcontract for North American Aviation, measuring approximately 44″ tall with a diameter of 22″ and weight of 220 pounds, designed to generate primary power, up to 2,300 watts, and portable water for the Command Module. Primarily constructed of titanium, stainless steel, and nickel, these were configured in a cluster of three units installed in Sector 4 of the Service Module to comprise the CSM power plant. The alkaline fuel cell consumes hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity in a chemical reaction that also produces drinkable water and heat as byproducts. The electricity powers the spacecraft via a power distribution system, while the water is fed into a storage system in the Command Module where it is used for astronaut consumption and for cooling purposes.

When the oxygen tank on Apollo 13 exploded, the loss of oxygen to the fuel cells caused all three to be shut down within 130 minutes leaving the crew to limp home on battery power from the Lunar Module. This is a rare opportunity to own the first practical application of a fuel cell. All flown Apollo fuel cells were left in space as part of the Service Module and only a handful of flight-ready spares remain. Nearly all of those are in museums including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. An essential piece of hardware for manned spaceflight, this is an outstanding artifact representing the technical innovation that went into the Apollo program. Oversized.

Considering the size and weight of this item, additional shipping charges will apply; please contact [email protected] for more details.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space And Aviation Auction
  • Dates: #474 - Ended April 21, 2016