Remarkable flown Primary Life Support System (PLSS) backpack strap used on the lunar surface by Edgar Mitchell during the Apollo 14 mission, measuring 19″ long and approximately 3″ wide, signed and flight-certified in black felt tip, "This lower right backpack strap helped support my 'PLSS' during both of my moonwalks: Feb 5-6, 1971. Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 LMP." The strap is made of Beta cloth and has a metal hook at one end, snap in the middle, and patch on the right side stenciled "E. M. [E]R." In fine condition, with some staining to the unsigned side of the strap.
Accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Mitchell, in part: "This document certifies that the accompanying PLSS Backpack Strap was flown to the lunar surface aboard Antares on February 5 and 6, 1971 and was carried in my personal preference kit during the Apollo 14 mission…Apollo 14 was the first lunar landing devoted primarily to scientific exploration, and completed two periods of surface exploration, each exceeding four and one-half hours. The first was devoted to setting up and activating a telemetry station…The second period of extra-vehicular activity (EVA) was devoted to collecting documented soil and rock samples from nearby Cone Crater."
The PLSS was the backpack-style life support system that enabled astronauts to conduct extra-vehicular activities without being tethered to the life support systems of the spacecraft, allowing for complete freedom of movement. Functions performed by the PLSS include regulating suit pressure, providing breathable oxygen, cooling, two-way voice communication, and telemetry monitoring of vital signs. During Apollo 14 Mitchell set the record for longest lunar surface EVA with a cumulative time of 9 hours and 23 minutes, and would have worn this strap for the entire time—an absolutely amazing and important piece.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.