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Lot #4351
Apollo Display and Keyboard Assembly (DSKY)

Scarce early generation of the Apollo DSKY—the mission-critical guidance computer interface

Estimate: $80000+

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Server Time: 4/21/2024 04:27:18 PM EDT
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Scarce early generation of the Apollo DSKY—the mission-critical guidance computer interface

Early generation of the Apollo Command Module Block II Display and Keyboard (DSKY) unit, developed to serve as the primary interface between the astronauts and the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). The data entry and display device measures 8˝ x 8˝ x 6.5˝, and has 19 keys and an electroluminescent alphanumeric display. The back of the unit retains its NASA/Raytheon Co. metal label which reads, “Apollo G & N System, AGC DSKY Assembly, Part No. 2003994-011, Serial No. RAY 39, Cont. No. NAS 9-497." The unit is stenciled on the side in white: "2004705 Rev. A." The drawing number indicates this is an early generation of the Block II DSKY, and as such would not have been flown. In very good condition, with cracked glass and area of circular loss to the display.

This interface was the instrument that allowed the astronauts to communicate directly with the on board guidance computer. The Command Module had two DSKYs connected to its AGC: one located on the main instrument panel and a second located in the lower equipment bay near a sextant used for aligning the inertial guidance platform, with a single DSKY installed in the Lunar Module. These units would also be used during the Skylab missions. Each AGC program had a two-digit code displayed on the screen, and commands were entered via a numerical keypad as two-digit numbers in a verb-noun sequence. It was the DSKY that provided the astronauts with critical burn times for engine firings, course corrections, trajectories, and other key calculations vital in getting a crew to and from the moon. The DSKY also reported the program alarm moments before the LM touched down on the lunar surface on the first lunar landing. DSKY units are among the most recognizable and historically significant of all Apollo spacecraft parts.

This Apollo DSKY originates from the personal estate of a prominent MIT graduate who was a longtime member of the MIT Radio Society. He worked at Draper Laboratory in Technology Square after concluding his studies at MIT. In addition, he played a major role in MIT’s well known aerospace projects, most notably Daedalus, which to this day holds the record for the longest distance and duration human powered flight.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space Exploration and Aviation
  • Dates: March 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024