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Author Topic:   NASA inquiry halts sale of astronauts' artifacts
kyra
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posted 01-19-2012 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA did in at least one instance give out a flown copy of an Apollo checklist to satisfy a FOIA request when no other copy was available in the early 1970s.

The reason that no other copy was available is that the unflown copies were all disposed of after the mission. The trash cans would be placed out in the hallway overflowing with documentation in those days and well into the shuttle era. This didn't stop until about 1991 when printing costs forced examination of the distribution lists.

The process of placing these documents on microfiche did not start until after the Challenger accident.

What is in the National Archives now with regard to a Apollo are mostly reference copies from the technical library that were turned over to a local university library who in turn sent them to the National archives.

With regard to flown documents prior to the Space Shuttle that are on the open market, they are truly one of a kind. If Jim Lovell's checklist had been lost or destroyed, the final, correct Page Change Notice and Pen and Ink version of this checklst would possibly be completely lost to history. Certainly, the version with his notations is one of a kind since the in flight notations are not recorded anywhere else.

This leads me to believe that at the time of Apollo, neither the historic nor future financial value of this checklist was seriously considered. In those days you would have got into serious trouble for walking off with a stapler, but flown documents were one step above the scrap paper that filled the government issue trash cans. They were souvenirs.

chet
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posted 01-19-2012 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Kyra, for your very informative post.

As I alluded to, Kraft's calling for new procedures in 1973 illustrates just how scattershot NASA policies in that arena (the disposition of artifacts as souvenirs) were.

spaceflori
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posted 01-20-2012 12:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember a guy from JPL told me about the same when I was there in the mid 90s. However, there he said at least until the mid 90s most documentation was still thrown away - he even showed me the large trash can where they ended.

Also he said that most contractor models were thrown away as there was little place to display them - so usually once an (unmanned) mission was over they went straight into the trashbin.

He and others regulary climbed into the trashbin and salvaged the one or other manual or model.

I wonder what happens to that if man lands on Mars for example in 40 years and suddenly some Mars exploring mission may become interesting and documents valuable?

So there are numerous cases NASA workers can for sure testify for where documentation and even models have been throw away.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-20-2012 06:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So far nobody has offered any evidence to support a NASA practice of indiscriminate disposal of Apollo era flown artifacts (a central issue at hand in this thread).

Dennis Beatty
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posted 01-20-2012 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the previous posts, there appears to be a lot of anecdotal evidence to support the claim that there was not a policy in place to save the materials... let alone archive them.

It seems that it would be difficult to prove a negative: How is one supposed to prove that a policy didn't exist? I believe that the burden would be upon you (generically) to show that one did exist, was implemented and was enforced.

And from strictly a layman's point of view, if there wasn't a practice of indiscriminate disposal of materials, then where are they?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-20-2012 10:03 AM     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 chet:
Kraft's calling for new procedures in 1973...
Kraft wasn't calling for new procedures in 1973.

Recall your history, what had just transpired in the astronaut office concerning mementos? The congressional investigation into the Apollo 15 unauthorized mementos. That hearing didn't limit itself to just the covers; it dove into everything the astronauts were allowed (and not allowed) to keep.

The fallout from the investigation was that NASA had to document what had largely been unwritten policies. In 1973, Kraft is trying to address the astronauts' own requests for items with what NASA Headquarters desired and Congress demanded.

To suggest that this effort is entirely after the fact ignores what was still pending from the Apollo missions themselves. At the time Kraft writes about checklists for example, Alan Shepard is still waiting for a response from NASA headquarters on the release of his lunar golf club so he can donate it to the U.S. Golf Association's museum in New Jersey. That request had been submitted in 1972.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-20-2012 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis Beatty:
It seems that it would be difficult to prove a negative: How is one supposed to prove that a policy didn't exist? they?
Sure it did... as early as 1967 in a NASA-National Air and Space Museum agreement which gave the Smithsonian first right of refusal on historic artifacts; and the ASHUR process. The vast majority of recovered Apollo flown hardware (well over 95 percent) resides in institutions. While its probable a very tiny percentage of flown artifacts were disposed by errant individuals, that doesn't make it organizational policy.

rjurek349
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posted 01-20-2012 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In early September 1972, Deke Slayton was widely quoted in interviews about spacecraft parts and other mementos and souvenirs that were taken by the astronauts. We also know that NASA issued new PPK rules on Friday, Sept. 15, 1972, which limited and restricted PPK items for the astronauts to just 12 items, as the investigations post the Apollo 15 cover scandal had their effect, and NASA was forced to start to formulate a policy, which they did not have before in detail. (A policy that we all know continued to evolve and change.)

That weekend, on Sept. 16-17, 1972, a UPI article — which was widely published in many newspapers at the time and date lined from Space Center, Houston — explains the new policy, and, goes further to explore the status of non-PPK items, and quotes:

Space Agency officials said Saturday the new restrictions on personal items astronauts may carry on future space flights apparently do not affect the souvenirs astronauts take from the moon or their spacecraft.
The article further quotes that NASA officials...
...said they knew of no regulations regarding souvenirs that come from the spacecraft or equipment left on the lunar surface.
The article further discusses Tony England and Joe Allen commenting on the common practice of using spacecraft material as mementos and thank yous for scientists, support persons, etc.

The upshot? We don't know what we don't know. But it is clear that all of these issues were discussed at the time and during the period of late 1972 — and discussed in detail and through all levels of NASA management — as evidenced by Kraft's recent interviews, the press reports, the internal memos, the anecdotal comments by astronauts and NASA management, etc.

And we know these investigations addressed a wide variety of items — not just PPK, but also spacecraft parts and material like manuals, etc. (Either by codifying a policy like they did with PPK items going forward, or, as Kraft stated, abdicating a decision on other items because "there were just too damn many.") It was settled once. It is now up to them to settle it again. But this time, definitively.

In the meantime, this whole thread is pure speculation. The people who do know — the astronauts, and NASA — are working this out. I say, in a very crude paraphrase of Gene Kranz, we stop "guessing" and we let the astronauts and NASA work the problem.

Dennis Beatty
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posted 01-20-2012 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dennis Beatty   Click Here to Email Dennis Beatty     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
Sure it did... as early as 1967 in a NASA-National Air and Space Museum agreement which gave the Smithsonian first right of refusal on historic artifacts; and the ASHUR process. The vast majority of recovered Apollo flown hardware (well over 95 percent) resides in institutions.
It would seem that the NASA/NASM agreement (as implemented) had hardware and equipment in mind. Also, an agreement between two large entities seems far from establishing a policy within the astronaut office.

In my earlier post, I was referring more to documents and other small items (flight plans for example) which are what could have be readily tossed. If these were covered by the agreement to which you referred, I stand by my original question: Where is the material? As I stated in my previous post, not only must a policy be established, but it must also be implemented and enforced at the time... not 40 years after the fact.

Although, it seems that a lot of "souvenirs" made it out, I can't imagine someone waking up one morning, going to work and thinking to himself "Gee the warehouse is getting kind of messy, let's toss all of those darn old command modules." However, I can see that happening with the types of items I am speaking of. We (and NASA) should be glad that the astronauts preserved what they did, otherwise, much would have been lost.

I doubt that at the time there was any thought of profit. It was more likely a desire to keep a memento. The "value" only came later, with time, and with all of us baby-boomers looking to reclaim a piece of our childhood. I see nothing wrong with these fine gentlemen now profiting from these circumstances.

chet
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posted 01-20-2012 01:25 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:
The fallout from the investigation was that NASA had to document what had largely been unwritten policies.
Wouldn't such a change qualify as new procedures?
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
So far nobody has offered any evidence to support a NASA practice of indiscriminate disposal of Apollo era flown artifacts (a central issue at hand in this thread).
This is a discussion (thread), not a trial; we're discussing aspects of current events, not submitting evidence in a courtroom, so anyone is free to pick and choose from the points made as one sees fit.

By the way, can anyone explain why NASA was/is questioning Schweikart's right to auction his Apollo 9 hand controller when NASA's own paperwork documents that the spacecraft's "joystick" was released to the crew? Is this a case of NASA claiming the equipment was only "on loan", or is it unaware of the documentation?

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-20-2012 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis Beatty:
It would seem that the NASA/NASM agreement (as implemented) had hardware and equipment in mind. Also, an agreement between two large entities seems far from establishing a policy within the astronaut office.
The agreement specified historical artifacts with no further caveats:
Effective March 14, 1967, a "NASA-Smithsonian Institution Agreement Concerning the Custody and Management of NASA Historical Artifacts" was signed. It provided that all NASA artifacts, when no longer needed by NASA or other governmental agencies for technical uses, would be transferred to the Smithsonian "for the custody, protection, preservation, and display of [324] such artifacts both in the Museum and upon loan to NASA Headquarters, NASA Field Centers, other Federal agencies, museums, and other appropriate organizations."
The actions of the Astronaut Office would be in contravention of that agreement if they did authorize release of artifacts like the checklist.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-20-2012 05:38 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 SpaceAholic:
...artifacts like the checklist.
NASA did not consider everything that flew aboard the spacecraft to be artifacts by default. For example, the agency did not treat uneaten food packets as artifacts, though today they are very much viewed as such (to the point that the National Air and Space Museum displays samples as well).

Similarly, the astronauts' music cassette tapes, sunglasses and personal hygiene kits were not considered "artifacts."

On the other hand, NASA did consider the astronauts' Omega Speedmasters to be artifacts and were transferred to the Smithsonian under the agreement accordingly. For many years though, the Smithsonian loaned the watches back to the astronauts for their continued personal use.

Had NASA considered the checklists artifacts but desired to allow the astronauts to retain them for personal use, a similar arrangement could have been — but was not — reached. (Of course, another possibility is that the Smithsonian was offered but turned down the checklists to be part of the national collection.)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-20-2012 05:57 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 chet:
Is this a case of NASA claiming the equipment was only "on loan", or is it unaware of the documentation?
You would need to ask that question to NASA, otherwise it is just speculation.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-20-2012 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA did not consider everything that flew aboard the spacecraft to be artifacts by default.
Perhaps part of the issue is that the National Air and Space Museum vice NASA should have been the arbiter of what was an artifact and historically significant.

chet
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posted 01-20-2012 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would the results have been different?

The NASM could have requested the checklists even if they weren't offered. The fact that so many (checklists) went to the astronauts would seem to indicate the NASM didn't place much value on them at the time either.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-20-2012 10:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think so - unlike NASA, NASM's (or any museum's) principle mission is focused on understanding and presenting artifacts in historical context.

Regarding your second point I believe to be specious - because it is alleged the Astronaut Office preemptively permitted the crew to retain the checklists. Just how exactly would NASM have been afforded an opportunity to evaluate and establish historical value?

chet
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posted 01-21-2012 01:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps it was somewhat the other way around.

If anyone in a decision-making position at the NASM had put forward the proposition the checklists should be considered prized historical pieces I imagine it would have been possible to arrange a diversion of at least a good number of checklists over to the Smithsonian. But there seems to be enough evidence (even if mostly anecdotal) to suggest the post-mission checklists just weren't highly valued (in historical terms) back in the day. Perhaps that's what made them "cost-effective" souvenirs for Astronaut Office disbursement at the time.

It seems unlikely the NASM was salivating over the prospect of getting its hands on checklists but was thwarted in its attempts to do so.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-21-2012 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I disagree. Here is a direct example of where the 1967 NASA/NASM agreement was followed properly, an Apollo 11 checklist transferred by NASA to NASM in 1970, another in 1973, and again in 1977.

In fact there is evidence NASA continued to loan or transfer flown Apollo checklists to NASM at least through 1985.

The Astronaut Office, in releasing some of the checklists to the crew shortly after the flight undercut any possibility of NASM having the option to evaluate material for inclusion within the national collection.

chet
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posted 01-21-2012 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How do you know it's not that the NASM showed little interest in (or placing "dibs" on) more of the checklists?

Your examples show only checklists from Apollos 8 and 11, the "most" historic of the Apollo missions; perhaps the NASM was little inclined to seek checklists from the other "more mundane" missions. The fact that the NASM has some checklists in their inventory is no indication whatsoever that they were clamoring for more but were denied by the Astronaut Office.

Furthermore, if the NASM has the 8 and 11 checklists you've noted, how did they get them if they were being undercut at each turn by failure of NASA to follow policy and procedure?

Finally, if the NASM was being undercut in contravention of policy, what was preventing them from seeking recourse at the time? Doesn't this actually undergird the claim that the checklists were indeed transferred to others rightfully and therefore with "full" title?

David Carey
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posted 01-21-2012 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The Apollo 11 Command Module Operations Checklist and Launch Operations Checklist are identified as having been donated to the National Air and Space Museum by Michael Collins.
How is Robert's point deep back in this thread not the ultimate evidence of valid ownership title by the astronauts for the category of checklists?

In light of the relative historical significance for the Apollo 11 mission and Collins' later role as Director of NASM, this goes well beyond providing a 'bit of support'. Rather, I'd classify it as a 'smoking gun'.

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-21-2012 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
The fact that the NASM has some checklists in their inventory is no indication whatsoever that they were clamoring for more but were denied by the Astronaut Office.
I didn't indicate the Astronaut Office engaged nefariously in a practice to deny NASM access, my point is that its likely the Astronaut Office didn't undertake positive action to establish NASM's interest prior to giving the crew first right of refusal on the checklists.
quote:
Furthermore, if the NASM has the 8 and 11 checklists you've noted, how did they get them if they were being undercut at each turn by failure of NASA to follow policy and procedure?
NASM was relegated to being handed sloppy seconds basically - the museum was left to choose from the remnant checklist not retained by the crews. I don't think any of the NASM checklists cited above that were donated/loaned by NASA were the more historically significant; those were cherry-picked and kept by the crews.

rjurek349
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posted 01-21-2012 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Few people know with certainty what the process was, how it was followed, and what/how things were defined, etc. Certainly not those of us on the outside.

Written procedures are one thing. Application of those procedures is another. That is why we should leave it up to NASA and the astronauts to work out. All the references that everyone is pointing out – myself included – are all just data points, out of context and being presented by people who were not involved.

(You can drive a truck through the shifting definition of "artifact" and "souvenir" over the years...) Easy to speculate. Impossible to assert with certainty.

chet
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posted 01-21-2012 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is of course what I think most of us see as the biggest problem with what's been going on; folks who weren't around at the time of the Apollo missions (and so couldn't know about the procedures, protocols and practices of the time), putting that unfamiliarity completely aside in their demands regarding (what the astronauts consider their) legacy items. It seemed to me to be what was most upsetting to Cernan, Lovell, Schweikart and Duke.

Spacefest
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posted 01-22-2012 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder how Eric Jones of the ALSJ feels about all this. On at least one occasion, I scanned a checklist for his extensive archives, which curiously bear a NASA HQ URL.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-22-2012 03:11 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:
...which curiously bear a NASA HQ URL.
To explain the curiosity:
Since June 1996, NASA HQ Historian Roger Launius, his successor Steven Dick, and Policy Analyst Steve Garber have provided a home for the Journal.

Astro Central
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posted 01-27-2012 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Central   Click Here to Email Astro Central     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sent to some anxious collectors:
We appreciate many of you are concerned with the disposition of your Apollo artifacts purchased from us and other sources, in light of NASA's claim to a few high-profile items seen on auction recently.

What happens now? Whatever scenario plays out, it's not likely to be quick. NASA's beef seems to be with the astronauts, not customers — there are simply too many. Flight Director Chris Kraft said recently; "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)."

Any resolution of this matter will likely leave the status quo — at least for the "small" collector. It may put the kabosh on any high-profile resale, though.

This matter does not involve PPK items — personal souvenirs flown by crews. Patches. medallions, flags, etc. are not at issue. We have removed other potentially challengable articles from the website until some sort of resolution is reached.

If we're wrong, and NASA demands your property, THEN we'll talk refunds. No use wringing hands over this.

Kim Poor

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-27-2012 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "status quo" will persist for any flown artifact in which title transfer is unaffiliated with astronaut ownership since the scope of an agreement (whether via some legal voodoo worked out between NASA and the crews directly, or congressional action) will likely umbrella only material which has provenance connected to crew members. Quite a few flown artifacts made their way on to the private market via conduits other then astronauts hands.

skye12
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posted 01-30-2012 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for skye12   Click Here to Email skye12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems this will possibly make the astronauts less likely to publicly auction their stuff and force it into a more private selling network, assuming they bother at all.

It also may have an effect of making collectibles more valuable as they become harder to obtain.

crl848
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posted 01-31-2012 05:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crl848     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Or less valuable as the re-sale potential is removed?

SpaceAholic
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posted 01-31-2012 06:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can't recall a single incident in which NASA's OIG has engaged a private citizen reselling flown artifacts unless one of the following criteria were met: the individual was either a former astronaut or other affiliated government official/contractor, ITAR violation, outright theft, or lunar material.

ilbasso
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posted 01-31-2012 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any thoughts on non-flight items, such as hardware that was sold through the Charlie Bell auctions or checklists etc used by ground teams? We know that Charlie bought his materials as salvage, but could we prove its provenance if there was ever a question on a re-sale?

I have spoken to several people from the Apollo days who pulled manuals out of trash bins after missions ended. They are all watching the current situation with intense interest. There's a lot of whispered talk amongst the retiree community about "going to ground" until the current issue is resolved.

space1
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posted 01-31-2012 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I have seen NASA is only concerned about items which reached the market without going through GSA. There would be government records of all the sales Charlie Bell won. Most of the records would have itemized lists of the lot contents. But I have seen some GSA lots that were labeled generically, such as "electronic surplus." At any rate such a reasonable and plausible explanation for an item's source is likely to carry significant weight.

Hardware found through dumpster dives and retirement cleanups probably have no NASA property bar code tags, and may also be cleared with relative ease. I would worry about anything with the NASA property bar code, because it's probably on a missing items list. Labels such as "NASA Property" or "Inventory 1998" are not removed when an item is sold by NASA. Only the property bar code is removed.

I should add that some property was also sold through contractor sales. This explanation is also reasonable. More than one of my flown items was obtained through contractor sales, either directly or through another buyer.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-09-2012 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
New bill defends astronauts' rights to own (and sell) space artifacts

The dispute over whether NASA's early astronauts have title to the space-flown artifacts they kept as souvenirs from their missions may soon be resolved by Congress.

A bill introduced by the chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Science, Space, and Technology Committee would confirm full ownership rights to the artifacts saved, donated, or sold by astronauts who were part of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.

In a March 2 letter titled "Apollo Astronauts Need Your Help," chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) appealed to their fellow committee members to help confer full ownership of these mementos to the astronauts by supporting "this common sense legislation."

When introduced in the House on Wednesday (March 7), H.R. 4158 — "To confirm full ownership rights for certain United States astronauts to artifacts from the astronauts' space missions" — had bipartisan support from 17 other congressmen.

garymilgrom
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posted 03-09-2012 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds reasonable. What's the process for signing into law?

They seem to explicitly cover Mitchell's DAC camera. Good for them.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-09-2012 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The bill will enter into a committee for markup and if passed, will then be voted upon by the full House. It will then need to be taken up by the Senate in a similar process.

If the Senate makes any changes, then the bill will need to be reconciled with the House version before passing both houses and being sent to the President for signing into law.

This can be a long process. It's not uncommon for bills to stall in committee or be voted in one house but not the other. It can sometimes take several sessions for Congress to get a bill passed.

Previous bills aimed at awarding astronauts moon rocks and (separately) issuing a set of space coins died after several years trying to get them passed.

My layman reading of the bill is that it would not apply to Mitchell's camera as he reached a settlement with the government. If this bill passes, perhaps he could make a legal argument for the settlement to be reversed, but by itself, the bill would not return the camera to him.

SpaceAholic
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From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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posted 03-09-2012 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For purposes of this Act, the term 'artifact' means, with respect to an astronaut described in section 2(a), any expendable item utilized in missions for the Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo programs through the completion of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project not expressly required to be returned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at the completion of the mission and other expendable, disposable, or personal-use items utilized by such astronaut during participation in any such program. The term includes personal logs, checklists, flight manuals, prototype and proof test articles used in training, and disposable flight hardware salvaged from jettisoned lunar modules. The term does not include lunar rocks and other lunar material.

Covered artifacts are pretty narrow (for example it doesn't include CM flown hardware except "personal use" items).

Spacefest
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Posts: 1101
From: Tucson, AZ USA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 03-09-2012 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Doesn't specify cue-cards either.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-10-2012 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would think cue cards could fit under the more broad category of checklists, at least as cited in the bill.

The bill's definition doesn't specifically exclude any item other than "lunar rocks and other lunar material" so long as it wasn't reusable and/or expressly required to return into NASA's inventory.

If a cue card is mission specific, and if there are no documents stating clearly that it was to be retained, and it has been in an astronaut's collection for the past 40 years (or donated, loaned or sold within that time period), then this bill would reaffirm the astronaut's rights to it.

ilbasso
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Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-10-2012 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So what about ground support items, such as countdown manuals, training checklists, etc., which belonged to important people on the ground? A lot of these items have been coming to auction over the past couple of years. The proposed bill only includes items in astronauts' possession.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-10-2012 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The bill's definition doesn't specifically exclude any item other than "lunar rocks and other lunar material" so long as it wasn't reusable and/or expressly required to return into NASA's inventory.
The bill's wording excludes items which are not expendable, not disposable or not personal use (and not expressly mandated for return to NASA).

It can be reasonably argued cue cards are no more expendable, disposable (perishable) or for "personal use" then any other flight vehicle component; and that the US Govt under 40 USC (which HR4158 does not amend or supercede) continues to retain title.

I hope the bill will be better crafted in final form to alleviate ambiguity in the specific artifacts umbrellaed and also title (since records were poorly maintained, NASA's original intent will continue to be the subject of interpretation).


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