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Author Topic:   NASA inquiry halts sale of astronauts' artifacts
Schoner
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posted 01-07-2012 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Schoner   Click Here to Email Schoner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
And I would point out that this was written from a deputy general counsel in a field office to the auction house's counsel; it was not addressed to the astronauts nor makes any mention of them.
I don't know how any readers here would respond emotionally to the NASA General Counsel's letter but I for one if I were a consignor of any of these items, or an auction house official that would auction them would have shivers after getting such a notice of intent.

But the question I have now, is what were the guidelines during and after these Apollo missions regarding astronauts keeping such things as keepsakes, and parting with them?

A clearly worded response from NASA OIG regarding this question would affect all that have Apollo related artifacts, flown or not.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-07-2012 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The UK media coverage now extends across the Times, Independent, Telegraph, Daily Mail and Mirror.

The average, uninitiated reader who looks at these articles is likely to infer or attribute some kind of illicit, dishonorable or sneaky behavior on the part of Ed Mitchell, Jim Lovell and Rusty Schweickart. The take home message left in people's minds is one of misappropriation. The coverage leaves a nasty information vacuum/silence due to inadequate provision of the historical context and precedence.

I have absolutely no issue with the retrieval of missing lunar rock samples from either individual/institutional possession and their subsequent regulation and control. It is incumbent, however, on a mature organisation to take responsibility for its past failure to adequately control the disposition of mission-flown equipment to flight crews as gestures of appreciation. NASA should give serious consideration to a "grandfathering" exemption applicable to all equipment in the possession of M-G-A astronauts, based on the historical practices and relevant agreements of that era. If the agency has a special interest in a particular artifact remaining in the public domain, then it should come to a consensual agreement with the astronaut in advance of any auction.

Such an approach removes any doubt and is an affirmation by NASA of the integrity and honor of its astronauts.

SRB
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posted 01-07-2012 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is clearly a most unfortunate and distressing turn of events for the astronauts, Heritage and collectors of flown Apollo checklists and other artifacts used during the missions.

At best, it represents a lack of institutional memory by NASA (i.e., its current senior officials) about what happened with full knowledge during the 1960's and early 1970's.

At worst this may represent a simple decision by these current officials to correct a mistake the agency, in their view, may have made in that period. Why should NASA have let the astronauts keep these historic records? Why should NASA have let the astronauts keep equipment used during the mission which they salvaged from the CM or LM during the mission?

Even as I was acquiring this type of material over the last decade, those questions were never comfortably resolved in my mind. Since the record of what NASA did in those years, why NASA did it and the procedures used to give these artifacts to the astronauts is less than crystal clear, current NASA officials could simply decide to try to correct what might seem to them now to have been poor judgement by the Apollo managers in those days.

Nevertheless, I hope this is not the case and that Lovell and the others prevail here. However, unless Lovell and the others are successful in educating these current NASA officials, it will take an (unlikely) act of Congress to establish clear title for all these artifacts in the hands of the astronauts and the collectors who acquired them from the astronauts and in the public market.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-07-2012 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
NASA should give serious consideration to a "grandfathering" exemption applicable to all equipment in the possession of M-G-A astronauts, based on the historical practices and relevant agreements of that era.
How does the agency equitably apply an exemption only to material originally in possession of M/G/A crews when the very basis of such an exemption is the result of inadequate records and loss of institutional memory (i.e. how does NASA commence the task of determining which privately owned artifacts were initially dispersed from the government via the astronauts as opposed to alternative paths). Much of this thread has been focused on items placed at risk of seizure because of their direct affiliation with astronaut sale but the scope is more expansive.

lunareagle
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posted 01-07-2012 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunareagle   Click Here to Email lunareagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's a shame is that the collectors of the prized items from the space program are indeed the greatest cheerleaders of NASA and for the continuation of America's leadership in space. No one takes greater care of the artifacts than the collectors, not even the National Air and Space Museum, which is over inventoried and doesn't even have enough manpower to properly catalogue much of what they already have.

And most items are NOT squirreled away by collectors. Look at what was a growing number of website collections for all to see, which have already begun to be pulled. The collectors have provided a great public relations tool for NASA, which is obviously unknown or unrealized to them currently. The collectors lead the campaign and provide much needed enthusiasm for NASA and new space programs.

NASA should understand quickly that the collectors and fans of today will turn quickly against NASA and a public relations nightmare is about to brew, as the once proud owners of items turn ugly, as they begin a long effort to try and return items purchased if NASA makes a decision to begin clawing back or going after things. What is the point?

I can see a compromise of setting the rules going forward, but not applying rules (loose ones at that), that were made up after the days of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, and trying to make them apply. Maybe astronauts should agree that from this point forward items of a specific nature will not be sold, but everything that went before is fair and legal.

There are many precedents for compromises like that. Look at whale bone carvings or elephant ivory for instance. It is illegal to purchase whale bone and elephant ivory carvings made after a certain date, but the law didn't reach in and outlaw the spirit of what went on before that time, which is exactly what NASA is attempting to do here.

I hope the astronauts are able to get this point through to NASA. And I hope some kind of agreement is determined and quickly. If not, I wouldn't be surprised if the astronauts began distancing themselves from NASA and ending their support for any more public relations celebrations and photo ops. Wouldn't that be something if no crew members showed up for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 16 or for any of the other historic milestones?

Not many astronauts are wealthy individuals and many have sold items to benefit their families. For the most part, this is not a bonanza for these people. It will be a shame and a national tragedy if we begin hearing about astronauts losing their homes and going bankrupt and becoming destitute because of lawsuits by auction houses and collectors who want their money back for items sold over the last 20 years. Items that they had all the right in the world to sell.

It is a sad day indeed.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-07-2012 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To the victor, the spoils?

This whole discussion centers on what it is that we truly value and how do we adequately and appropriately measure that tangible/intangible value.

What really distinguishes the ground-based mission controller's checklist from the mission-flown flight crew's checklist?. Is it the premium associated with the risk of life?. The sense of history?. The extra cachet of where it has been and with whom?. A complete set of prime crew signatures on the cover?. Is it a blend of all of these factors?.

The basic value of the material that makes up a checklist is very little. The value increases historically and financially as you fly it out of the atmosphere, into earth orbit and to the Moon and back - each riskier step adding value. Fly it on a first mission or the most perilous mission ever flown and the value goes astronomical.

Since all spaceflight is inherently risky, is it possible and/or appropriate to confer special privilege on those astronauts of the M-G-A era? Were their endeavours in the infancy of manned spaceflight riskier than later shuttle crews and therefore deserving of greater personal rewards?

NASA does not allow later shuttle crews to profit from flown equipment - the risking of life by a prime flight crew member is not considered to confer any special privilege in this regard over a ground-based employee. NASA could argue that they established a restriction on profiteering from flown items in the Apollo era with Apollo 15.

But how uniformly and fairly has this policy been enforced over the years? Clearly it has not. A vast array of mission-flown taxpayer funded equipment has been sold, bought, collected, enjoyed and sold on over the intervening decades. If NASA did not want profiteering from manned spaceflight then it should actively seek to ban all payment for astronaut autographs. But NASA has allowed a value to be placed on a man's life and even his name by virtue of taxpayer funded experiences. NASA have indirectly facillitated Buzz charging more than Jim or Ed or Charlie by virtue of the primacy of Buzz's taxpayer funded flight. Should the sons of Apollo be valued differently based on order or number of flights? Is that fair?

The question was asked why should astronauts be allowed benefit from their flight(s) if at all. They should and they do. Unlike most other taxpaying NASA employees, they are the ones to actually risk their lives to the greatest degree. They put it out there, in harm's way, risking everything and therefore deserve the appreciation, gratitude and respect. Even on the ground, Apollo 1 proved that astronauts sacrifice the most.

So I say, to the victor, the spoils! The checklist may be the pages of history but it was Jim Lovell who wrote that history and who earned it, the hard way, in harm's way - the value of which is immeasurable.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-07-2012 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
Unlike most other tax-paying NASA employees, they are the ones to actually risk their lives to the greatest degree.
Unfortunately, exposure to occupational risk cannot be the standard - there are many other military personal and first responders who have comparable amounts of risk imposed upon them in combat or while performing public safety duties.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-07-2012 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
If NASA did not want profiteering from manned spaceflight...
Federal laws, not NASA specifically, prohibit active astronauts — and all government employees — from using their position for personal gain.

Once retired from public service, it is not a question of NASA stopping its former employees (astronauts, et al) from profiting. Former federal employees, astronauts included, of all generations are permitted to sell the items that were clearly transferred to them during their government hire.

The question here is how to reconcile the largely unwritten (or incomplete) rules of 40 years ago with the modern policies in place, not just at NASA but throughout the federal government.

I think the best thing collectors can be doing right now is focusing specifically on the four items in question and finding equally specific evidence to support their transfer.

Chris Spain did this by looking for photos of the lunar module ID plate ceremonies. John Fongheiser did this by citing a related ASHUR document.

There is more that can be done, including searching news archives and compiling sale result records.

Summarizing the situation over and over isn't helping the situation; complaining to others (especially "preaching to the choir") isn't helping either.

Focus on the facts, on the specifics and put the vast knowledge and research collectors are known for to good use.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-08-2012 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Specifically in relation to the Apollo 13 checklist, I wonder how a judge/court would reconcile and view NASA action over the Space History Sale at Bonhams New York 05 May 2011 (Sale 19144).

While NASA was questioning title of the Apollo 14 camera in this auction, there also featured as a highlight Lot 197 Apollo 13 LM Contingency Checklist pp24-25 extensively annotated by Jim Lovell and Fred Haise which sold for $111,020.

Fred Haise wrote in the accompanying provenance letter in May 2006 that:

This sheet has been in my personal space collection since 1970. It is an extremely significant artifact that records some of the most important events and procedures James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and I performed in order to safely return to earth.
Was title definitively requested and established by NASA for this third-party consignment? (Fred Haise indicated he had no idea this lot had been auctioned when I asked him about it at Spacefest in June).

If proof of title was not requested for this, when NASA was aware of the lot, is that not setting a clear legal precedent for Apollo 13 flown checklists as recent as May 2011? I can't understand how a sharp counsel would not bury NASA in court over this, when you combine inconsistent NASA behavior patterns with absent/incomplete documentation control and historical practices.

There is strength in unity and its about time Apollo astronauts stood together as one group on this. Otherwise the artifacts in their possession are going to be randomly targeted one after another.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-08-2012 10:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A zero sum game... on the one hand the Bonhams Apollo 13 checklist sheet's sale is illustrative of NASA's inconsistent approach; on the other it highlights complicity by some astronauts in dismantlement of significant artifacts (which may be partial motivation for NASA's currrent actions).

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-08-2012 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following research aims to explore NASA behavior patterns and precedence in relation to Apollo 13 Checklists and Heritage Auctions.

Between October 2008 and April 2010, Heritage auctioned 2 Training-Used LM Checklists and 2 Flown CSM/LM Checklists all from the personal collection of mission commander Jim Lovell.

  • Lot 41095 Apollo 13 Flown LM Malfunction Procedures Checklist was sold at the 2008 October Heritage Signature Space Exploration Auction 6007 for $13,145.

  • Lot 41068 Apollo 13 Flown CSM Systems Data Checklist was sold at the 2009 April Heritage Signature Space Exploration Auction 6022 for $28,680.
So, again, did NASA request and establish title to these checklists?. If not, why not? All of this information is in plain sight, readily available in the public domain. The due diligence effort took a matter of minutes.

If title was not sought or challenged, then it adds weight to the argument that NASA's own actions have created clear legal precedence as to how Apollo 13 Checklists are to be dealt with.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-08-2012 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Within the U.S. legal precedent isn't established until adjudicated through the courts.

Schoner
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posted 01-08-2012 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Schoner   Click Here to Email Schoner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
Within the U.S. legal precedent isn't established until adjudicated through the courts.
And being that those brave astronauts are in the last of their "Golden Years," sadly legal adjudication and established precedent by U.S courts will come long after they are gone...

NJSPACEFAN
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posted 01-09-2012 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With respect to legal precedent available to the astronauts - they or their attorneys should look at the Stroup v. Wilcox 549 U.S. (2006) case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. I understand full well that each case is based on the facts, and a difference in facts may change an outcome, but this case is one that archivists look to towards resolving controversial issues where copies are provided and thus those who possess the article retain ownership.

First - NASA made more than one copy of all the checklists - that much is fact; Mission Control had copies, Training had copies, and the division that created them possessed them. The difference is that the flown ones were "flown". Granted they also contain the astronauts' notes, but for the most part - when they communicated with Houston, their changes and recordings were also made part of the ground's copies. Also, I have owned in the past and seen large photocopies NASA had of the astronauts' checklists for Apollo 8 which they used for reference, and clearly they made some copies of some of the originals. What has NASA done with their own retained copies? If they "excessed" them as many government agencies do with dated material - to now go through replevin actions to acquire those given the astronauts does not bode well for them.

Lovell having possession and selling checklists is not unique to him, and clearly virtually every crew had possession of their data kit checklists post flight - removed by certified employees and eventually handed over to the crew members. This establishes practice and not just a unique and arbitrary incident to Lovell.

Should the astronauts furnish copies or digital copies - I believe the government's thirst for the "inherent value" or "cultural value" and research value should be satisfied. Federal law allowed copies of documents to serve as evidence, provided there was no question about the authenticity of the original since 1975.

Various archivists argued for the acceptance of copies of the estrayed archival material, while others may argue that their state that will not, arguing that the copy isn't the public record and so it doesn't satisfy the law. This recent decision by the United States Supreme Court supports the holder's position on the basis that copies have made them available for research.

I wish to give credit to the case cite and some of the archival views to an article by archivist Elizabeth Dow in an article in the Manuscript Society Journal.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-09-2012 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a final example, on the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13, the Space History Sale was held at Bonhams New York on 13 April 2010 (Sale 17778).

Lot 1226 Apollo 13 Flown LM Contingency Checklist pp PWR-5/6 EMER PWR DN with 15 annotations by Jim Lovell and 11 annotations by Fred Haise was sold for $45,750.

The accompanying letter of provenance from Fred Haise reads in part:

This sheet played an important part during the emergency conditions of the Apollo 13 flight. It is a record of the real time steps the NASA and industry team developed for us to perform ensuring our safe return to earth.
So, here we have a significant artifact auctioned on an important anniversary - was proof of title sought or challenged by NASA?.

If NASA is so concerned by the dismantlement of checklists, one would have thought they would aggressively pursue all such artifacts in the public domain as an active deterrent. Have they written to all surviving Apollo astronauts requesting proof of title on all remaining checklists in the astronauts' possession so as to preserve them?

NASA's actions to date are truly puzzling - they hounded Ed Mitchell for the Apollo 14 LM Camera but did they query Lot 190 Apollo 12 LM COAS impregnated with lunar dust sold for $18,300 in the very same auction in 2011?

mikej
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posted 01-09-2012 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding how this action is being perceived in the media and by the general public, my wife called me at work to tell met that a local talk radio show would be discussing Lovell's checklist.

The host gave a synopsis of the case (although he said that he assumed the value of the checklist came from Lovell's notes, rather than its flown status) and opened the phone lines with the question "Is he stealing it or is he entitled to it?"

The host and all of the callers were decidedly on Lovell's side. Someone said, "If he tried to walk off with his space suit, I might have a different opinion" and to ask for the return of something as minor as a checklist, "that's fundamentally wrong."

An analogy brought up was to suppose that your employer gave you a 2011 calendar for your desk, and you keep notes and appointments on it. When the 2012 calendars are passed out, your coworkers throw their old calendars away, but you keep yours. 40 years later, the employer shouldn't be able to repossess this calendar.

Another quote from the show was that, even if he shouldn't have taken it, one would expect the law of adverse possession to apply.

Of course, this is a nuanced legal matter and radio call-in shows are not the place from which to get legal advice (although, from his bio, I see that the talk show host was a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's office for 11 1/2 years), but it does show how the public perceives the matter.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-09-2012 2:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Administrator Meets With Apollo Astronauts

Agency Will Work Cooperatively to Resolve Artifact Ownership Issues

Following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden regarding the ownership of early space exploration mementos and artifacts:

"Earlier today, I had a good meeting with former Apollo astronauts Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Charlie Duke, Rusty Schweickart and other representatives of former astronauts and agency personnel, where we discussed how to resolve the misunderstandings and ownership questions regarding flight mementos and other artifacts.

"These are American heroes, fellow astronauts, and personal friends who have acted in good faith, and we have committed to work together to find the right policy and legal paths forward to address outstanding ownership questions.

"I believe there have been fundamental misunderstandings and unclear policies regarding items from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs, and NASA appreciates the position of the astronauts, museums, learning institutions and others who have these historic artifacts in personal and private collections.

"We also appreciate their patience and will explore all policy, legislative and other legal means to resolve these questions expeditiously and clarify ownership of these mementos, and ensure that appropriate artifacts are preserved and available for display to the American people."

collectSPACE
Apollo astronauts meet with NASA to clear claims on mission mementos

Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell and a few of his fellow Apollo astronauts were in Washington, D.C. on Monday, where they met with NASA to address "misunderstandings" over the ownership of the mementos they kept from their missions.

NJSPACEFAN
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posted 01-09-2012 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Check out today's Fox News interview with Megyn Kelly and Lovell, Schweickert, Duke and Cernan regarding the matter.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-09-2012 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associated Press: NASA Chief: Will Work Out Ownership Of Space Items
NASA chief Charles Bolden says the agency is committed to working out ownership issues for artifacts that flew in space aboard Apollo moon shots and other missions.

Bolden met Monday in Washington with Apollo 13 commander James Lovell and other former astronauts. NASA has questioned whether Lovell has the right to sell a checklist from the mission that received a bid of more than $388,000 at auction. The agency also sued a former astronaut over an attempt to sell a camera from the Apollo 14 moon mission.

Bolden's statement calls Lovell and the others heroes. He says there have been fundamental misunderstandings and unclear policies about items from missions dating to the original Mercury manned space program.

Bolden says the agency and astronauts will explore how to resolve those issues.

AJ
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posted 01-09-2012 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Fox News interview was excellent. Each astronaut made some great points, especially Cernan about being personally insulted. NASA is not faring well in the media with this and rightfully so. I find the actions of the current NASA administration disturbing and out of touch. Hopefully there will be a satisfactory resolution in favor of the astronauts. If I were Charlie Bolden I'd have been quaking in my shoes to meet with those four.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-09-2012 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bolden may have limited maneuver space; laws governing de-acquisition of federal assets are rather cut and dry on spelling out who has the authority and the criteria/procedures to write off property from government books. Dont see how this can be compartmentalized to just M/G/A or the scope of a decision limited even the astronauts themselves since others who were associated with these programs either gave or were non-officially gifted with materials.

I'd like to be a fly in the wall when Bolden and the NASA lawyers sit down to sort this one out.

drifting to the right
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posted 01-09-2012 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drifting to the right     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be nice to give Bolden the benefit of doubt; perhaps this fish was rotting in reverse...from tail to head.

Spacefest
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posted 01-09-2012 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm wondering what language a blanket statement of title will satisfy the astronauts and collectors.

jimsz
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posted 01-09-2012 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could NASA possibly find more ways to make themselves look bad?

Cernan was quite articulate.

FOX did not mention if they requested anyone from NASA to appear.

I wonder when NASA will go after Mr. Bean's boot that he uses to imprint his paintings.

Spacefest
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posted 01-09-2012 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
I wonder when NASA will go after Mr. Bean's boot that he uses to imprint his paintings.
Well, that's just a training article.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-09-2012 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spacefest:
Well, that's just a training article.
It's not even that, it's a replica, according to his website and Greenwich Workshop.

Spacefest
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posted 01-09-2012 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim McDivitt was just here, and explained since he dispersed the money for certain Apollo articles and items, as Apollo Director, that many items were legally his to dispose of as he wished.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-09-2012 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I dont understand McDivitt's statement. There is a difference between having the authority to direct de-acquisition (i.e. as in turn over excess property for disposal in accordance with regulation) and having the authority to waiver adherence to US code. And what is the connection with dispersment of funds?

Cozmosis22
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posted 01-09-2012 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What is and what could have been.

There is a certain likelihood that many of the old documents and ephemera preserved by the astronauts would have been relegated to the trash bin many, many years ago.

Considering the agency's propensity to destroy it's outdated artifacts like launch towers and ship out other hardware via GSA auctions; there is no guarantee that those documents would have survived the past decades if the astronauts hadn't taken such good care of them.

Management's official response today was indecisive and too little too late.

Schoner
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posted 01-09-2012 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Schoner   Click Here to Email Schoner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sincerely hope with these new developments between NASA and the astronauts, that it might also lead to considering that all Apollo-era artifacts, flown and not flown that are currently owned by private collectors being "grandfathered" and exempt from seizure.

NASA OIG should then produce clear guidelines for anything after.

Then we can all relax and enjoy what we have legally bought or traded in "good faith."

lunareagle
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posted 01-09-2012 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunareagle   Click Here to Email lunareagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Fox report was well done. Megyn Kelly's enthusiasm was welcome and confirmed to me that it isn't just space geeks who think this way and feel protective of great American heroes. She was sincerely in awe of these four men. I truly hope that NASA finds an acceptable settlement, otherwise the public interest could become overwhelming to them.

I expect that Charlie Bolden wouldn't want his legacy to be overshadowed by the negative blowback that this event could potentially cause. Maybe someone knows better, but I see the NASA Administrator as the person in power to set policy, otherwise what is the point?

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 01-09-2012 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Schoner:
Then we can all relax and enjoy what we have legally bought or traded in "good faith."
That still wouldn't cover us pre-51L shuttle collectors. I'm not sleeping easy yet.

In regards to today's statement, Mitchell needs to get his camera back to sell as he pleases.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-09-2012 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lunareagle:
Maybe someone knows better, but I see the NASA Administrator as the person in power to set policy, otherwise what is the point?
He approves organization policy but it must be predicated upon federal law (in this case U.S. Code 40 Chapter 5).

AJ
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From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
Registered: Feb 2009

posted 01-09-2012 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This all makes me want to go on a "flown item" shopping spree, simply out of spite.

I feel bad for Ed Mitchell. He was the first victim in what has turned out to be quite the debacle. I know it might sound silly, but I wish we could all sign a card (a big one!) and send him our support. This is a very, very bad way to treat an amazing group of heroes.

Spacefest
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From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 01-09-2012 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe we should turn to Al Worden, who sued NASA for return of the remaining "Sieger" covers, which they siezed, also.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3647
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-09-2012 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It appears that nothing has really changed in light of today's meeting, other than a carefully worded statement on behalf of NASA saying they will "explore" how to resolve the issue with the astronauts. It appears NASA is doing some PR damage control in light of negative public opinion over this matter.

Still, there is nothing here to indicate they will resolve this matter in favor of the astronauts.

capoetc
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Posts: 1790
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 01-09-2012 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I kind of wish that Lovell, Duke, Cernan, and/or Schweikart had mentioned Ed Mitchell's camera from last year – and the fact that the camera would have been left on the moon if he had not decided to bring it back.

By the same token, it is too bad that they can't ask NASA about the disposition of other historic documents (training materials, etc)... would the Apollo 13 LM Activation Checklist have been preserved? Or would it have been discarded?

But, as they said, hopefully this will be settled amicably and quickly.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-09-2012 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Schoner:
I sincerely hope with these new developments between NASA and the astronauts, that it might also lead to considering that all Apollo-era artifacts, flown and not flown that are currently owned by private collectors being "grandfathered" and exempt from seizure.

That will never happen. They will not forfeit their right to pursue artifacts they believe were wrongfully taken from the agency. And indeed, some artifacts have wrongfully been taken from the agency in the past. (Just not the items currently up for debate, in my opinion.)

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-09-2012 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
Just not the items currently up for debate, in my opinion.
Just out of curiosity, what leads you to believe the Shepard training glove was transferred through proper channels? I'm not suggesting it wasn't, but unlike Lovell's and Schweickart's items, I haven't seen any type of precedence to support its transfer (as described) and sale.

mjanovec
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Posts: 3647
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-09-2012 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, I keep forgetting about the Shepard glove. While I feel the Lovell and Schweickart items are the property of the astronauts, I have no solid opinion over the ownership of the Shepard glove. Indeed, I am more inclined to think this glove may still be NASA's property.


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