Lot #3140
Apollo 8 Launch Plotboard Printout Signed by James Lovell

“First men launched to the moon, James Lovell, Apollo 8"

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Estimate: $800+
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“First men launched to the moon, James Lovell, Apollo 8"

Exceptional plotboard chart for the launch of the Apollo 8 mission, 30 x 30, printed by the computer launch monitor pen plotter and stamped in the lower border, “Mission Only,” initialed and dated, “BK, 12/20/68,” and signed in blue felt tip, “First men launched to the moon, James Lovell, Apollo 8.” The X-axis is comprised of the launch vehicle’s Inertial Velocity in KFPS (1000 feet per second), and the Y-axis concerns the Inertial Flight Path Angle in degrees; the chart features a set of 10 graphite-lined curves made prior to the launch to define the nominal (expected) flight paths, as well as a set of three green line plots that were made during the actual launch. The lower right border is marked “Apollo, SSR Format 0082” and features a “NASA-MSC” label. Lithographed by ACIC 8-6 and prepared under the direction of the Department of Defense by the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center. In fine condition, with expected folds.

A Mission Control projection device allowed this chart to be viewed during launch on one of the large monitor screens visible to all flight controllers. The three green plotting lines trace their corresponding graphite lines accurately during the launch’s early moments, but as the launch continued a significant deviation occurred along one of the plots. Fears mounted that the ‘pogo’ problem (severe longitudinal oscillations, or vibrations) from the last Saturn V flight had not been solved and were occurring once more. If the launch had to be aborted, this could have been a major risk to the three crew members. After extensive ‘real-time’ analysis by Mission Control, it was determined that the plot deviations were caused by ‘noisy data’; they were deemed not a problem with the Saturn V launch vehicle and Apollo 8's launch to the moon continued unabated.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space
  • Dates: #607 - Ended April 22, 2021

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