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Lot #6065
Wernher von Braun Signed and Hand-Edited Mock-Up of NASA Saturn Report (1962)

Mock-up of NASA's 1962 report on the Saturn program, extensively hand-edited by the 'father of space travel' Wernher von Braun

Estimate: $6000+
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Mock-up of NASA's 1962 report on the Saturn program, extensively hand-edited by the 'father of space travel' Wernher von Braun

Significant spiral-bound mock-up of an early official NASA publication entitled "Saturn…," stamped as unclassified on February 12, 1962, 9 x 12, 105 pages, signed and inscribed on the title page in bold fountain pen to a NASA graphic designer, "For Ernie Harper, What a wonderful job, this book and—Saturn! Wernher von Braun." Additionally signed in blue ballpoint by Oswald Lange, a member of the 'von Braun rocket group' who became project director of Saturn V: "This excellent book on Saturn has been written and compiled with great thoroughness and know-how and has found such an enormous response for more copies as no other report before. Oswald H. Lange, March 11, 63."

The mock-up features pasted-on photographs and blocks of text, with various editorial notations throughout—including several pages with pencil notes and corrections made by Wernher von Braun, many signed with an initial, "B." For example, on page 7, which features a map of NASA locations and contractors, von Braun notes: "Suggest we identify NASA centers as such! B, (color code seems to imply 'NASA' but then it should be explained in legend)." On the next two pages, which describe Jupiter rockets, he adds clarifying text to the image captions, noting that some are "presently deployed by NATO," and that the Juno II "established first US satellite around the sun." On page 10, he annotates an image of the MR-4 launch, stating the commander as "Cdr. Al Shepard," adding: "Hope I've spelled name correctly."

Later, on page 86, he inquires about the nomenclature of a caption of an "advanced launch vehicle"— "Why don't we say Saturn C-5: It's an approved project. B." Below an image of solid propellant boosters, he notes: "There are better, more up-to-date pictures, of solid-boosted, C-1, C-5, Nova, Suggest replacement. B." He makes a similar note above a concept image of orbital refueling: "Here again, we have more modern pictures. B. (Ask v. Tiesenhausen, LOD)." Includes an example of the published version of the report, which demonstrates the way in which von Braun's suggestions were incorporated. This fascinating pairing reveals both Wernher von Braun's hands-on approach to the Saturn program and the way in which these early NASA reports were developed for public consumption—with scissors, glue, and keen attention to detail.

In very good to fine condition, with foxing and staining to the cover, and general expected signs of age.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities
  • Dates: #669 - Ended September 23, 2023

This item is Pre-Certified by STEVE ZARELLI
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