apollo 15 crew
May 25, 2014

Apollo 15 Joystick Fetches Over $600K During Space Memorabilia Auction

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The joystick used by Apollo 15 commander David Scott sold for more than $600,000 as part of an online auction featuring artifacts from the 1960s and 1970s NASA spaceflight program.

The device, which is actually a spring-loaded rotational hand controller that comes complete with attached cables, was purchased for the sum of $610,063 – apparently setting a new record for the highest amount ever paid for a space travel-related antique or collectable, according to Brian Stallard of Nature World News.

The joystick was one of several Apollo mission items being offered this month by New Hampshire-based RR Auction, and was reportedly taken from the lunar landing module by Scott prior to the team’s return to Earth in 1971. Bidding on the item, which had an opening price of just $10,000, ended on Thursday evening. The bidder’s identity was not disclosed by the auction house, AFP news agency noted.

“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,” said Robert Pearlman of CollectSpace.com according to CNN.

Scott’s joystick was one of over 500 antique collectables, many of which were associated with Apollo program missions, which were auctioned off this month by RR Auction. It was one of three items to surpass the $100,000 mark. A Flown Crewman Optical Alignment Sight from Apollo 15 sight fetched just over $126,179, while a Block II Entry Monitoring System (EMS) assembly sold for $114,709, according to Nature World News.

Another artifact, a cloth American flag that made the journey to the moon and back, was sold to collector and space travel enthusiast Larry McGlynn, according to CNN’s Lorenzo Ferrigno and Larry Frum. The 2.5 inch by 1.75 inch commemorative flag was framed with an Apollo 15 uniform patch, they added.

“To be honest with you, there's only 12 men who walked on the moon out of 105 billion people who have walked on this earth since humankind started walking upright. These are incredibly rare items,” McGlynn told Ferrigno and Frum. Like the joystick, it and the optical alignment sight were part of Scott’s private collection, CNN noted.

Other items included a lunar surface checklist and copy of the Declaration of Independence that traveled to the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, a backpack strap from Charles Conrad’s Personal Life Support System (PLSS) used during two Apollo 12 moonwalks, and an autographed spacesuit worn by cosmonaut Aleksander Volkov during a trip to the Mir space station in late 1991-early 1992.

The popularity of the auction items came as no surprise to RR Auction executive vice president Bobby Livingston, who told CNN, “These astronauts resonate. People love the heroism and the sophistication. You have to remember, everyone from Galileo to Einstein to Neil Armstrong looked up to the moon, wanting to figure out how to get there – and these astronauts were able to get up there and come back down.”