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Author Topic:   NASA inquiry halts sale of astronauts' artifacts
chet
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posted 01-11-2012 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA had no say in the IG's decision to pursue Mitchell's Data Acquisition Camera.
NASA had ample opportunity to argue Ed Mitchell's case for keeping the DAC, and Lovell's checklist. They chose not to back up either former astronaut's claims.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2012 08:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a factually incorrect statement.

NASA cannot interfere with investigations by the Office of Inspector General. It operates independent of the space agency.

And Lovell's checklist has yet to be claimed by NASA.

AJ
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posted 01-11-2012 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, so NASA can't interfere, but I wouldn't think a simple statement of support from the administrator wouldn't be interference. Obviously, it's their decision and perhaps they felt at the time of the Mitchell incident that saying nothing was the best policy, but it's only gotten worse. I'm now even more curious about the role of the OIG and what, if anything, has changed at that office to cause this sudden increase in interest in astronaut sales.

chet
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posted 01-11-2012 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA cannot interfere with investigations by the Office of Inspector General. It operates independent of the space agency.

If that's true how can Bolden guarantee a resolution?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2012 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bolden cannot guarantee a resolution, nor has he. Re-read his statement.

chet
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posted 01-11-2012 08:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bolden said the ownership discussions will explore "all policy, legislative and other legal means" to resolve ownership issues "and ensure that appropriate artifacts are preserved and available for display to the American people."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2012 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, if they can find a resolution, then as part of it, they will ensure that artifacts are available for display.

chet
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posted 01-11-2012 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The word "if" was nowhere to be found in Bolden's statement.

The main point, however, is that none of what is currently going on could be going on if NASA wasn't (or hadn't been) playing footsie with the OIG.

None of the Apollo astronauts, in that Fox News interview, mentioned the OIG. They expressed their consternation that their integrity was being undermined by NASA. That tells me pretty much all I need to know.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-11-2012 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The devil is always in the details.

In most cases, when Office of Inspector General actions are reported, they are described as being the actions of NASA. It is only when you get into the details does the distinction become clear.

In this case however, the letter was sent by NASA's General Counsel, which is part of NASA, so the astronauts were not incorrect in citing the space agency.

But again, the details are important. NASA as a whole did not write the letter. It originated from a field office.

Now, you can argue, perhaps rightfully, that the General Counsel office should be better organized such that a field office cannot act without the knowledge of its main office and, when involving public issues, perhaps with the advance knowledge of public affairs too, but it is unreasonable to hold all of NASA at fault for the actions of one its offices.

Had the letter originated from the Administrator's office, then perhaps, you could state that it was NASA's actions.

mikepf
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posted 01-12-2012 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikepf   Click Here to Email mikepf     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not a pilot and have never been in the military, but I was wondering if there is/was any common practice with military pilots to keep flight documents or records after a flight/mission. This has nothing to do with the legalities of this situation, but was curious if keeping these type of things would have been natural or normal for a pilot to do?

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-12-2012 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following letters at Fraser's Autographs in London, from Neil Armstrong to Joe Garino might offer a new lead to anyone who can pursue it.

The first letter reads:

Dear Joe. Sorry you were so put out about the last letter. The attached may help clarify the situation. (Since this was a private letter from the administrator, I have clipped out a bit to protect his privacy.) All the best, Neil.
Included with Armstrong’s letter is a photocopy of the first page of a letter from NASA dated October 3, 1972, with a portion clipped as described. The text reads, in part:
Recently many questions have been raised concerning materials carried on Apollo flights which were retained by the astronauts following the flights or given by them to others. NASA has requested the Department of Justice to provide a legal opinion as to whether the United States has any claim of ownership or other property interests in these materials.
The letter goes on to name specific classes of items, including postal covers, and includes such directives as:
Keep all of these items in a safe place.
One passage has been circled in red pencil (presumably by Armstrong):
Refrain from authenticating any items having been on a space flight.
Makes for interesting reading and follows on from NASA 72-189 Articles Carried On Manned Space Flights from September 15, 1972.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-13-2012 01:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Going back to the original Joe Garino consignment to Heritage Auctions in the 2007 September Grand Format Air and Space Auction 669, led to the finding of two lots of interesting correspondence from Neil Armstrong to Joe Garino regarding flown memorabilia.

Lot 25159 contains some relevant newspaper clippings about an unauthorised Flown Gemini 7 Souvenir and NASA's attitude to such items, and an Apollo 11 Navigational Notebook Flown To The Lunar Surface and signed by Buzz that fetched nearly $250,000 at Swann Galleries.

Lot 25161 contains a copy of the October 3, 1972 letter from NASA Administrator James Fletcher to Neil Armstrong regarding flown items and the request to the Department of Justice for a legal opinion on their status.

So, what exactly did come back from the Department of Justice - what was their opinion and why was this whole issue not definitively settled in 1972-1973?

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-13-2012 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following article from The Palm Beach Post in July 2011 offers an interesting insight from Alan Bean into the Ed Mitchell DAC case:
Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, who was also a commander of Skylab 3 in 1973, said the rules changed, perhaps after Mitchell retired in 1972.

At some point, he estimated about 35 years ago, he and others were ordered to return anything they got in connection with their NASA duties. He recalled that he was forced to return a dagger and his wife to hand over a bracelet they received as gifts in Morocco when he and other astronauts took part in a worldwide goodwill tour. "I gave all of my stuff back," he said. "I didn't have anything as good as a camera."

Mitchell, he said, shouldn't be faulted. Others, he said, probably didn't return their space goodies. "Be kind to Ed," he said. "These things, back in those days, it wasn't important. We were trying to get to the moon and get back alive. The other stuff, it wasn't important."

Mitchell acknowledged that the government asked him to return the camera in the past. But, he said, he thought the issue had been resolved.

So perhaps the requisite policies were in effect by the mid-to-late 1970s and NASA Administrators had simply been extending goodwill to the Apollo astronauts. A classic case of applying the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law?

It would appear to be a combination of legacy effects from the 1970s. Gifted artifacts personally presented and verbally authorised by senior management. Flown memorabilia being perceived as unimportant and even junk. Astronauts and managers retiring from NASA. Astronauts not actively selling large amounts of memorabilia for huge reward in those days. Enormous respect for recently crowned world heroes and no desire to trouble them over minor issues.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-13-2012 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In seeking to understand the current NASA viewpoint on artifacts, it is worth looking at NPR 4310.1 Identification And Disposition Of NASA Artifacts, in effect since March 1999.

Chapter 1.2 Defining NASA Artifacts

1.2.1. Artifacts, as applied to NASA, are unique objects that document the history of the science and technology of aeronautics and astronautics. Their significance and interest stem mainly from their relation to the following: historic flights, programs, activities, or incidents; achievements or improvements in technology; our understanding of the universe; and important or well-known personalities.

1.2.2. Space-related artifacts may include, but are not limited to, objects such as major program vehicle components, unique devices, prototype and proof test articles, payloads or individual instruments, flight spares, astronaut tools and paraphernalia, design concept models, and high-fidelity simulators.

1.2.3. Flags, insignia, and other mementos carried in Official Flight Kits and astronaut Personal Preference Kits, or items specifically approved as reminders of specific flights are not to be considered artifacts. Artifacts also do not include non-serialized parts, or parts that exist in large numbers, except when such parts acquire special significance as indicated in subparagraph 1.2.1.

It is easy to see how Jim Lovell's Apollo 13 Checklist and Ed Mitchell's Apollo 14 16mm DAC meet many of the criteria to be declared artifacts.

Chapter 3 goes on to explain how program/project managers and centre directors have input on what qualifies as an artifact and that it is designated as such.

Appendix A details the 1998 Agreement Between NASA And The Smithsonian Institution Concerning The Transfer And Management Of NASA Historical Artifacts.

Artifacts are unique specimens relating to the science and technology of aeronautics and astronautics, and of flight in the atmosphere and space, which may consist of aeronautical and astronautical objects, but not limited to, aircraft, space launch vehicles, spacecraft (both manned and unmanned), sub-systems of the above, such as rocket engines, pressure suits and personal equipment, instruments, significant recorded data, operating handbooks, drawings, photographs, motion picture film and related documents, audio and video tapes, training devices, simulators, and memorabilia.
Section 1 of Appendix A relates to the transfer of artifacts, indicates how a NASA-Smithsonian Joint Artifacts Committee can discuss the transfer or preservation of items of unusual historical interest that NASA has not yet declared to be artifacts, and how the NASA Administrator has the final decision.

One can see how the "significant recorded data" and "unusual historical interest" of the Apollo 13 Checklist and Apollo 14 DAC would again fall well within the definition of artifacts.

It would appear that many high-end items sold at auction could be declared official artifacts, but that up to now discretion and goodwill have kept them from being declared as such and their return ordered. It's worth remembering that although a high price usually correlates with historical value, sometimes it's not a true reflection of the actual historical importance.

chet
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posted 01-14-2012 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But was/is any of this (meant to be) retroactive?

If not, the artifacts I, and many other collectors, own (as they were acquired from the collections of Apollo astronauts) are or should be exempt. It's simply bad form (to put it mildly) for NASA to be coming after such stuff, especially in such scattershot fashion.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-15-2012 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris Kraft's recent comments thrown into the mix:

Kraft said he remembers the early NASA policy. Astronauts were given, or could take, small personal items and things such as mission checklists after a flight, but they did not have approval to take any piece of hardware they wanted as a souvenir. The items they did get were to be for themselves and family, not to be sold.

Kraft said he's sure other NASA employees, such as "my people, the flight control world," are angry "to a fare-the-well that these guys are selling this stuff." But Kraft sees the astronauts' point of view, too. "They don't make any money, even now, so what's wrong with them selling this hardware or whatever that was actually given to them by NASA?"

rjurek349
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posted 01-15-2012 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The other shocking comment that he makes is the one about them dropping further investigation after the Apollo 15 cover scandal:
"When we began to look into it, we were damned sorry we did," Kraft said last week by telephone from his home in Texas. "There was too much there ... so we, NASA, dropped (it)."
Wow. Management finally openly admitting they looked into it. Knew what the astronauts had almost 40 years ago. And then decided to drop it because there was "too much."

Laches, anyone?

chet
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posted 01-15-2012 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Scott, for posting the link to that article.

Kraft's comments are notable, but my favorite take away from the article was this:

[Robert] Pearlman has written extensively about the artifacts issue.

The astronauts are unanimous that "these were items they didn't take, but were given," Pearlman said.

Obviously the astronauts also believe their title is unconditional, i.e., they have full discretion, with no restrictions on their disposition of the artifacts.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-15-2012 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unanimous of how many astronauts queried...ive yet to see input from Collins and Armstrong for example

Regardless..if one accepts the premise (that the crews were gifted the artifacts) it was with the underlying provision there was not to be exploitation for personal gain

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-15-2012 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the record, my comment was in regards to anyone suggesting that the astronauts had plotted to take the items without permission. And "the astronauts" I referred to were those who have come forward (e.g. Lovell, Schweickart, Duke, Cernan and Mitchell).

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-15-2012 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
If one accepts the premise (that the crews were gifted the artifacts) it was with the underlying provision there was not to be exploitation for personal gain.
I agree that there would appear to have been a clear understanding in NASA of the 1970s that flown items were for either personal retention or gifts but not sale.

In 1971, NASA Chief of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton had personally issued warnings against commercialism by flight crews. Slayton's warning came in the form of personal briefings and in a written memorandum to all astronauts about flown mementos. So why would flown artifacts, gifted or otherwise, be treated differently when they are even more important than mementos?

Is a gift just a gift, when it is a gift of an artifact of a historically important national program of global significance?

Please don't misunderstand, I think Jim and Ed should be allowed to sell the artifacts in question because NASA has been very inconsistent in its practices to date and has largely operated off goodwill. My personal sentiment, however, does not supercede or resolve the legal issues regarding what constitutes title transfer and whether it was even legally permissible to gift such artifacts in the first place.

Finally, NASA's recent recommendations on lunar historic preservation New York Times indicates that NASA definitely values historic footprints, LRV tracks, and even discarded "junk" US Government hardware on the lunar surface for the information it can provide on durability. The "junk" of the 1970s is now clearly seen as modern day treasure!

rjurek349
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posted 01-15-2012 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
If one accepts the premise (that the crews were gifted the artifacts) it was with the underlying provision there was not to be exploitation for personal gain.
Scott, in a memo of opinion from Dec. 6, 1978, written by Leon Ulman, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, in response to a NASA GC request for review concerning the disposition of the Apollo 15 postal covers, a lengthy examination of the facts, the law that applied, and NASA's ability to claw-back profits on sales of mementos was made... and in the memo's final sentence, Ulman wrote:
This theory, however, can be used to restrain sales by astronauts only as long as they are employed by NASA; the termination of employment ends their duty of loyalty to NASA's interests, and fiduciary obligations no longer apply.
That was rather definitive. And we know the rest of the story: the covers were returned to the crew with no restrictions on their sale.

NJSPACEFAN
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posted 01-15-2012 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The idea of what NASA "later" deemed what to be considered historic and their property cannot and should not be retroactively acceptable. The National Archives, nor any branch of the government - whether under the umbrella of a law enforcement of investigative agency, never looks to claim through replevin prior documents that were not under their purview - e.g. letters of Lincoln to his cabinet, or other Presidents instructions to the Secretary of State to affix the seal of the President to an official act e.g. the Emancipation Proclamation and others that have been sold in auction freely. Thus, to quote 1990's declarations or other type "official" announcements is actually not in concordance with other agencies and other treatments of truly historical documents.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-15-2012 05:05 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 NJSPACEFAN:
The National Archives, nor any branch of the government... never looks to claim through replevin prior documents that were not under their purview...
Just to illustrate this isn't limited to NASA, citing a Feb. 2011 article about Civil War documents from The Washington Post:
Whether they know it or not, the dealers may be trafficking in stolen government property. The heist may have taken place in 1865. Or last week. Or a document may not have been looted at all, but made its way into private hands instead of the Archives...

The outreach builds trust - and generates tips. Tips and leads from document dealers have helped the agents recover about 7,000 missing items that were stolen from the Archives or never made it into the agency's possession in the first place.

(Admittedly, the article mostly deals with items outright stolen from the Archives' holdings, but it does mention — as excerpted — recovering items that were not originally transferred to the Archives.)

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-15-2012 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rjurek349:
That was rather definitive. And we know the rest of the story: the covers were returned to the crew with no restrictions on their sale.

My focus was more on underlying intent and dichotomy of views between the astronauts and NASA staffer's like Kraft. I would love to know what Collins and Armstrong think about this issue having donated their material (or at least not sold it) and adhering to the intent of unwritten policy subsequently codified post Apollo in NPR 4310.1.

Unlike many who praised the performance of the Astronauts during the Fox interview, my eyebrow was raised when Lovell stated he just happened to find the checklist in a drawer and thought somebody "might want it". The same Lovell who is well cognizant of the premium paid for flown articles as a seller of such material in the past. To be clear, subject to resolution of title in his favor I don't begrudge attempts to sell and profit from the checklist, its just that his statement seemed a bit disingenuous to me and undercut his credibility.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-15-2012 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by rjurek349:
...the covers were returned to the crew with no restrictions on their sale.
That case was settled out-of-court in part because NASA were engaging in a similar practice at the time, and the disputed postal covers in question were not originally property of the US government.

What the legal opinion in the memo does seem to suggest, however, is that flown personal mementos in a PPK can be sold once an astronaut leaves NASA, because of the personal nature of the property involved.

The real question is what happens with flown artifacts i.e. valuable and historically significant hardware/equipment that were originally property of the US government?

When a NASA official presented the gift of such an artifact to a trusted NASA or government employee on behalf of a grateful nation, was that a legally permissible act and did title transfer unconditionally in that act?

What is clear is that NASA officials failed to identify the significance of historical artifacts correctly (moon rock was cherished but some flown equipment not). More crucially NASA officials of the day failed to effect correct transfer of title via proper paperwork in order to make the gifts to astronauts proper unconditional gifts.

Those latter failures unfortunately may well mean that title does still remain with NASA, and that it is NASA's discretion and goodwill that will dictate what artifacts they challenge and retrieve and the manner in which they do that.

As the gentleman said, it will probably take an act of Congress to definitively resolve this issue.

NJSPACEFAN
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posted 01-15-2012 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
I would love to know what Collins and Armstrong think about this issue...
While interesting, I'm not sure Collins' and Armstrong's opinion would be any more valuable than those of Lovell, Cernan, Kraft and others.

Collins donated his items, as acknowledged by the National Air and Space Museum - just as they acknowledge NASA as the donor. Yes, he was the director of the museum, nonetheless they still acknowledge the sunglasses just as they do his checklists.

Armstrong is so different from all the others. He donated items to the museum with his name, and considering the significance of his donated items, we don't see the National Air and Space Museum or any other government agency or archive insisting on their either being "loaned" or claimed as rightfully theirs, certainly not while he's alive.

I believe their take again is interesting but not any more significant in weight as to the resolution of this matter.

chet
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posted 01-16-2012 02:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unless the Apollo astronauts are acting in bad faith, they obviously believe artifacts they've sold or auctioned were theirs to do with as they pleased at the time they offered them for sale or consignment.

NASA, and we, are left then with a tough question: Assuming the astronauts were acting in good faith, how is it possible that so many of them could have so misconstrued the acts under which they took possession of their mission artifacts, so that ALL of them ended up misunderstanding the actual "true" status of their title to the objects [i.e., that title to the artifacts would always revert to NASA]?

Statistically, what are the odds NASA is right on this issue, and all the Apollo astronauts have, for all this time, simply just had it all wrong?

Rick Boos
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posted 01-17-2012 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the early days of Project Mercury, NASA had no objection to letting the astronauts keep spacecraft/spaceflight related artifacts... it wasn't a big deal. After the flights the launch team would present the astronauts with with meaningful presentations that were representative of their individual flights comprised of flown hardware and or launch related artifacts.

John Glenn received his earth path indicator made up as a desktop display piece and a number of other flight flown artifacts such as his hand controller, a failed thruster from Friendship 7, connectors, skin from the Atlas rocket and so on. Also his bio sensors to name a few.

No big deal back then.

You have to ask when all that changed and why? Probably in the Apollo days after the Apollo 15 cover deal. I think you would be amazed what the early guys were given and kept. They were keepsakes back then, and future value wasn't even considered!

We as collectors are the ones that are responsible (in part) for making these items of any monetary value and have caused NASA to toughen it's position. Don't get me wrong I am NOT endorsing NASA's current stance, but merely pointing out that we in part are responsible.

We as collectors have to ask ourselves why we collect. Is it an investment? Or is it that we want a keepsake and to preserve a piece of history that was thought to be junk by NASA. Food for thought.

I believe we need to know when and why the change in NASA's stance and what the rules are and why and when did they change. When does scrap or junk become treasure?

Dennis Beatty
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posted 01-17-2012 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am reminded of the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where Belloq speaks to Indiana Jones of the value of ancient relics...

"Look at this. [holds up a silver pocket watch] It's worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless! Like the Ark. Men will kill for it; men like you and me."

chet
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posted 01-17-2012 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
I believe we need to know when and why the change in NASA's stance and what the rules are and why and when did they change. When does scrap or junk become treasure?

The better question may be, why has NASA been more questioning in the disposition of the Apollo 13 LM activation checklist than in the disposition of other checklists of other Apollo missions?

The answer, sadly, seems obvious.

YankeeClipper
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posted 01-18-2012 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although Mission Control saw the flight of Apollo 13 as their "finest hour", NASA saw it as "mission failure". History has reframed it differently, however, as a "heroic mission" and an "epic voyage" that illustrated the risks of space exploration.

Possible cumulative reasons for NASA to view this checklist differently include: historic mission/incident, furthest manned space exploration mission, significant recorded data, well-known personalities, international motion picture fame, international auction publicity, high sale price.

Historians do say that sometimes it is only with the passage of time that the full significance of historical events is understood correctly. Surrounded by the successes of the day, Apollo 13 was perceived to have failed. Now with the hindsight of history, it is what Tom Hanks described as a classic epic tale of endurance and survival - one of the great stories of literature - the journey home.

chet
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posted 01-18-2012 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, but NASA never inquired as to the whereabouts of this very important artifact until it was advertised in the Heritage auction and then fetched $388,000.

At a minimum their sleuthing skills could use a little work. Also their timing.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 01-18-2012 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Presumptive upon NASA current staff knowing the checklist existed and that the agency had reason to believe it was in private hands.

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 01-19-2012 01:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If Lovell hadn't secured it, the checklist likely would've ended up in a NASA dumpster a long time ago. (So much for NASA's regard for such historic items).

As for the agency having an inkling it was in private hands, wasn't NASA aware of numerous other checklist sales by former mission crewmen? Shouldn't it have occurred to anyone at the OIG to have thought to ask Lovell or Haise if they knew where this checklist could be?

Seems NASA became keenly interested in securing this item for posterity only after stumbling upon its whereabouts and realizing it'd fetch a princely sum.

Under the circumstances why should anybody support NASA's "mission objective" when it comes to this checklist?

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 01-19-2012 06:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
If Lovell hadn't secured it, the checklist likely would've ended up in a NASA dumpster a long time ago.

Where is the evidence for this as a "likely" outcome? Standard practice for the majority of post flight Apollo hardware was to place it in bonded storage with ultimate disposition dependent on a decision to support testing, re-use, in-agency retention or transfer to the Smithsonian.

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
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posted 01-19-2012 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's a difference between the way (literal) hardware, and documents (copies of which were plentiful), were treated.

I have it on good word many checklists were ready for disposal by simple dumping; only the intervention of an alerted astronaut prevented the loss of the original mission- used checklists.

NASA's profession of interest in "protecting" these documents today comes off as a bit disingenuous.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-19-2012 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In 1973, Chris Kraft recommended that all flight-used checklists and documents ("crew notebooks, briefing charts, photographs and teleprinter messages") be kept by NASA for "display or permanent record."

So when does this "good word" say the checklists were ready for disposal?

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
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posted 01-19-2012 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll ask and get back to you. But the fact that Kraft felt the need to say such a thing in 1973 would seem to indicate the disposition of such things was something NASA didn't have a coherent plan for.

And keep in mind the intended dumping could have happened before Kraft spoke to the issue, or that Kraft spoke to the issue because he got word of the aborted dumping. Also it's entirely possible Kraft's recommendation went unheeded altogether.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-19-2012 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kraft's recommendation was in connection with NASA developing a policy for what the astronauts desired to keep for themselves and what NASA would let them keep.

The checklists and other documents were part of a long list of items, ranging from the generic (e.g. personal hygiene kits) to the specific (individual spacecraft's hand controllers) to the very specific (e.g. Apollo 17's map-repaired fender).

Many of these other items were never at a risk of being tossed, so it doesn't seem that Kraft's recommendation for the checklists was driven by any perceived risk.


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