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Item 514 - Apollo 13 Catalog 376 (Sep 2011)

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Sold Price: $2,290.80 (includes buyer's premium)


Four pages of handwritten investigator’s notes following the Apollo 13 accident. Written by Melvin F. Brooks on four lightly-lined 8.5 x 11 sheets, and headed at the top, “Crew debriefing—21 Apr 70.” Brooks was a long time NASA employee who served as the Agena Flight Controller during Project Gemini and Assistant Chief of Experiments Systems/ Payload Operations for the Apollo Program, and was praised for his role in the Spacecraft Analysis (SPAN) Room during Apollo 13.. These detailed notes span the entire mission, beginning with the premature cut-off of one of the five booster engines, and finishing up with the crew “still cold 3 hrs later on carrier deck.” Notes begin with routine issues encountered on the mission, “Haise had difficulty w/ TV camera—Not enough training on use of TV camera…Moral 1st day in this new environment, plan things to go slow,” and at the bottom of the first page begins “One explosion, Main B Bus undervolt light on…Bang wasn’t especially loud–Swigert wanted tunnel in because he wasn’t sure it was in LM. In haste to get hatch in, got misaligned. Haise felt the explosion. He immediately thought it was CM…Lovell saw O2 T2 Quan gauge was way down to zero, #1 was coming down. Ground told to shut off reactants to FC 1&3, they knew they’d had it then–irreversable…Now apparent they were losing elec. Pwr, thought about powering up LM - Ground asked for it. Lovell saw some gas flowing out of SM…Ground gave them LM power up. Felt they should have gone into contigency activation. Important to crew to get LM Platform up & aligned. From LM windows saw debris all over the place. Small pieces, rotating, reflected lite–looked like frozen particles. CSM power down…Haise calculated consumables–looked OK except for L10A, but forgot Swigert!…Manual alignment on earth or moon–Lovell was skeptical, but felt it worked pretty well…Very proud of our ability to come up w/ devices, kluges, etc–especially the L10A Kluge. Love that masking tape…Final PTC–cooled LM down–gotLmdown–got cold. Put on lunar suits–Swigert had to move…LMjettison…Lmjettison attitude was uncomfortably close to CM gimbal lock–Quite poor.” Also included is a printed Official NASA Record MSC Apollo 13 Investigation Team report, issued to Melvin Brooks, which incorporates aspects of the above de-briefing, and a three page memo establishing the Apollo 13 review board. In fine condition, with light toning and creasing to note pages.

By the time the third voyage to the moon—Apollo 13—took off, a fickle America had pretty much lost interest in the process. All that changed on April 13, 1970, when, approximately 200,000 miles from Earth, Mission Control asked the crew to turn on the hydrogen and oxygen tank stirring fans. Less than two minutes later the astronauts heard a bang—the sound of an oxygen tank onboard the service module exploding—followed by fluctuations in electrical power and firing of the attitude control thrusters. “One explosion, Main B Bus undervolt light on…Bang wasn’t especially loud...Lovell saw O2 T2 Quan gauge was way down to zero, #1 was coming down,” as these investigation report notes describe it. The notations further reveal what must have been a sickening sight to James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise—”From LM windows saw debris all over the place. Small pieces, rotating, reflected lite–looked like frozen particles,” along with the admission of a miscalculation during the chaos: “Haise calculated consumables–looked OK except for L10A, but forgot Swigert!” The crew was forced to shut down the command module and use the lunar module as a lifeboat. The oxygen tank failure was caused by an unlikely chain of events related to its design, as found by the Apollo 13 Review Board investigation and issued in their final report June 15, 1970. The aborted mission to explore the surface of the moon remains a harsh reminder of the immense difficulty of such an undertaking. RRAuction COA.

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