Exceptionally rare flown Apollo 13 commemorative cover carried on board the command module Odyssey by commander James Lovell, 6.5 x 3.5, bearing a color cachet of the mission insignia with a stamped limited edition box in the lower left corner, numbered 6/50, postmarked on the front and reverse, Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, April 19, 1970, and signed in black felt tip by Lovell, Ken Mattingly, and Fred Haise. Also signed and flight-certified by Lovell on the flap in blue ballpoint, “This cover (#6 of 50) was carried into space and around the moon on the flight of Apollo 13, approved as storage in my personal preference kit, James Lovell.” Additionally, the lower left reverse is signed and certified in pencil by former NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club President Matthew I. Radnofsky, a NASA engineer who aided in the preparation of the Apollo 13 PPK covers, in full: “19 April 1970, USPO hand-back cancellation service provided at Ellington, AFB. Attest: M. I. Radnofsky.” In fine condition. Accompanied by a notarized letter of provenance signed in blue ballpoint by Lovell, as well as a folder and certificate of authenticity from Qualita Bolaffi.
After a routine stir of a cryogenic oxygen tank, a spark from faulty wire insulation ignited an explosion in the Odyssey service module. With air quickly depleting, the three-man crew were instructed to use the lunar module Aquarius as a ‘life boat.’ Approximately 205,000 miles away from Earth, the crew managed to re-establish the free return trajectory and swing around the Moon to return home. In order for the Aquarius to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and not bounce back into space, Lovell had to twice adjust the course by manually controlling the Lunar Module's thrusters and engine. The full crew were recovered by the USS Iwo Jima on April 17, 1970, just two days before this cover was cancelled. An incredible piece of space history deriving from the personal collection of the mission hero, enhanced furthermore by the distinction that flown items from Apollo 13 are extremely popular and less common than those from many other missions. Pre-certified Zarelli Space Authentication.
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