Astronaut Sells Apollo 15 Hand Controller for More Than $610,000 at Auction

rrauction2-14-13A hand controller used by Dave Scott during the Apollo 15 mission to land on the Moon’s surface sold for $610,063, on Thursday evening, according to Massachusetts based, RR Auction. Commander Dave Scott employed the rotational hand controller to safely bring the Lunar Module Falcon safely down on the Moon’s surface in 1971.

Prior to landing— the Flight Director in Mission Control had learned that tracking data indicated they were going to land 3000 feet south of the targeted landing site.

rrauction5-27-14Using scribe marks on the window and angles read aloud to him by Jim Irwin, Scott found where the computer was predicting the landing site to be and then used the hand controller— flying manually, to the correct location.

“There are space artifacts that need to be explained as to their original use, and then there are items like the Apollo 15 rotational hand controller that simply upon sight are self-evident as to their purpose,” said Robert Pearlman, Editor and Founder of the space history website collectSPACE.com. “We all can imagine what it must have been like to land on the moon, but to have the chance to grab hold of the very joystick that accomplished that feat is a priceless experience — and at the same time, worth every bit of the more than half a million dollars it commanded at auction.”

Located on the left side of the cabin interior, this controller was used by Commander Scott during the landing of the Lunar, as well as piloting the ascent stage to rendezvous with Command Module for their trip home.

The spring-loaded hand controller remains quite tight and returns to neutral, and was used to control pitch, roll, and yaw while maneuvering to and from the lunar surface. The communications trigger switch is also present, and a screw on the front of the housing retains one of its wax tamper seals.

“We are of course honored and thrilled for both the winning bidder—and to have achieved such an impressive figure for our client, Astronaut Dave Scott— a true American Hero,” said Bobby Livingston, VP at RR Auction. “Our specialty auctions continue to exceed all expectations, commanding World record breaking prices—while offering an unprecedented mix of some of the finest museum quality pieces available.”

Among the other pieces directly from the personal collection of Dave Scott:

  • Flown Crewman Optical Alignment Sight (COAS), flown to the surface of the moon on board the Apollo 15, sold for $126,179.
  • Highly-coveted flown Apollo 11 Robbins Medal, sold for $38,069.

Further highlights from the auction include, but are not limited to:

  • Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11, NASA-issued lunar ‘comfort’ glove worn at Tranquility Base during the first lunar landing, sold for $61,212.
  • A backpack strap from Charles Conrad’s PLSS (Personal Life Support System), used on the lunar surface during both of his moonwalks during the Apollo 12 mission, sold for $52,649.
  • Flag carried on the lunar surface for over 18 hours on Apollo 15, sold for $27,741.

The auction, which contained nearly 600 items, began on May 15 and concluded on the evening of May 22. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

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