Spiral-bound Mead Five Star notebook personally-owned and -used by Curt Newport as his logbook for the search and recovery of the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft during the months of April, May, June, and July of 1999. The logbook, 6.5″ x 9.5″, contains a total of 34 pages annotated in black ballpoint by Newport, who begins his entries on April 18th at “0830: Moved aboard Needham Tide,” and concludes with his last official log on July 20th, the date of craft recovery: “0215: Capsule at surface, 0220: Capsule on deck.” Also significant are Newport’s handwritten notes on May 1st, the date that the mission’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) found the long-submerged capsule: “0800: Ship on station…1000: Squall moving across…1026: ROV in water…1347: ROV at 4300m…1407: 4582m…1417: Bottom in sight-4720m…1803: Searching for first sonar contact, #71, 1920: On Liberty Bell-7!, 2356: Lost Magellan ROV.” Despite finding the Liberty Bell 7, the ROV ultimately joined it on the seabed when its tether was severed due to the harsh weather above; recovery would have to wait a couple more months before a new ROV was able to make the rescue official. The back of the notebook served as Newport’s contact/phone list and includes names like Gene Cernan, Wally Schirra, Scott Carpenter, and Guenter Wendt. Includes its original Mead vinyl wraparound cover and a Cosmosphere pen. In fine condition, with the back cover detached but present.
Accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from Newport, who states: “I certify that this logbook was used by me to record all the operational details of both the search for and recovery of Liberty Bell 7 in 1999. It is from my personal collection.”
After unsuccessful attempts in 1992 and 1993, Oceaneering International, Inc. and a team led by Curt Newport lifted the Liberty Bell 7 from the Atlantic seabed and onto the deck of the recovery ship Ocean Project on July 20, 1999, the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The spacecraft was found after a 14-year effort by Newport at a depth of nearly 16,000 feet, some 350 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral. Among the items found within were parts of the flight gear, several Mercury dimes, and five one-dollar bills, the latter taken to space to be souvenirs of the flight. The spacecraft was transported to The Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, where it was disassembled and cleaned and is now on permanent display.