• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7590

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    4 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 94

    APOLLO 13. The 'Mission Commentary' for Apollo 13, comprising mimeographed transcripts of the exchanges between the command module and Launch Control and later Mission Control Centre, Houston, 11-15 April 1970, covering the mission from before lift-off until just before re-entry, approximately 434 pages, 4to, together with a collection of the related press briefings, and the 'Press Kit' for the mission, including a full description, timeline and 'flight plan' of the intended mission, guides to and a map of the launch complex and related materials, approximately 22 gatherings, some printed but the majority typescript. Provenance: property of a British journalist accredited to the expedition (the registration list of 8 April 1970 lists only 41 accredited journalists).

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    APOLLO 13. The 'Mission Commentary' for Apollo 13, comprising mimeographed transcripts of the exchanges between the command module and Launch Control and later Mission Control Centre, Houston, 11-15 April 1970, covering the mission from before lift-off until just before re-entry, approximately 434 pages, 4to, together with a collection of the related press briefings, and the 'Press Kit' for the mission, including a full description, timeline and 'flight plan' of the intended mission, guides to and a map of the launch complex and related materials, approximately 22 gatherings, some printed but the majority typescript. Provenance: property of a British journalist accredited to the expedition (the registration list of 8 April 1970 lists only 41 accredited journalists).

    'HOUSTON, WE'VE HAD A PROBLEM'. The mission commentary is a minute-by-minute account of the ill-fated progress of Apollo 13, beginning even before lift off with the exposure of the crew to German measels, and continuing through the launch at 2.13 pm on 11 April ('we have commit and we have liftoff'), the development of the famous 'problem' at 9pm on 13 April ('Okay Houston. Hey, we've got a problem here ... Houston, we've had a problem'), the mid-course injection burn at 2.43 am on the 14th, the decision later that morning to use the Lunar Module as a 'lifeboat', the loss of signal from the capsule as it passed behind the moon, the course correction burn at 8.36 pm on the same day and the improvisation of lithium hydroxide equipment for the carbon dioxide scrubbers at 7.18 am on the 15th. The transcripts end shortly before the re-entry burn, at 6.10 pm on the 15th (General Elapsed Time 100:57:00).

    Apollo 13 was intended to be the third manned lunar-landing mission, but an explosion two days into the mission, caused by a fault in the oxygen tank, critically damaged the service module, leading to a loss of oxygen and power. The eventual safe return of the mission to Earth was a triumph of ingenuity under pressure, including the use of the Moon's gravity to slingshot the spacecraft back to earth. The numbering of the expedition, as well as the time of the take-off and date of the 'problem', have provided a field day for triskaidekaphobics. (3)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Special Notice

    Buyers from within the EU: VAT payable at 17.5% on just the buyer's premium (NOT the hammer price) Buyers from outside the EU: VAT payable at 17.5% on hammer price and buyer's premium. If a buyer, having registered under a non-EU address, decides that an item is not to be exported from the EU, then he/she should advise Christie's to this effect immediately.