The laptop used to send the first presidential email — to outer space is featured in an auction by Massachusetts-based RR Auction.
The extremely well-documented Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop used by Bill Clinton to transmit the first-ever presidential email, sent to John Glenn while he was in outer space during NASA's STS-95 mission.
While orbiting Earth aboard space shuttle Discovery on Nov. 6, 1998, Glenn sent President Clinton an email that read, in part: "This is certainly a first for me, writing to a President from space, and it may be a first for you in receiving an E mail direct from and orbiting spacecraft."
"Hillary and I had a great time at the launch," responded Clinton on Nov. 7, 1998. "We are very proud of you and the entire crew, and a little jealous."
Both of these emails are preserved on the laptop's hard drive and backed up on the included floppy disk, and remain accessible via the AOL application on the computer.
This laptop belonged to White House physician Commander Robert G. Darling of the United States Navy Medical Corps.
The extensive accompanying documentation consists of a two-page typed memo on White House letterhead by Darling explaining the circumstances that led to the email exchange on his computer, a copy of a letter from the Department of the Navy advising Darling that it is legal for him to sell the computer, a typed letter by Darling explaining various specifics about the computer itself, and instructions on how to access the email files.
In early 2000 President Clinton commented that he did not use email because of security concerns, and was quoted in an interview with a New York reporter: 'I e-mailed John Glenn in space. And I e-mailed some Marines and sailors on a ship at Christmas. That was it.'
The laptop is complete with its external floppy drive, a floppy disk, and power cords.
"It's a remarkable collection that represents the dawn of a new age, combining America's greatest technological achievements — space travel and the Internet,"says Bobby Livingston, VP at RR Auction.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited by:
- Set of three chairs used by Barack Obama, Shimon Peres, and Benjamin Netanyahu during a state dinner held at the Israeli president's residence in Jerusalem on March 21, 2013.
- Beaulieu movie camera that spent three years in space. The extensively flown camera flown to the Salyut 6 space station on board Soyuz 26 in 1977 and returned to earth three years later on board Soyuz T-3. Accompanied by a typed letter of authenticity from Valery Bykovsky, listing the 29 cosmonauts who had access to the camera while it was in space.
- Launch day 'gotcha' prank executed by space craft technicians on Wally Schirra the day of his Mercury launch. This practical joke consists of the Hand Controller Lock Safety Pin, which measures 6" long with a small push-button release at the top.
- Glove used in the vacuum of space during "construction of special structures on the exterior of Space Station MIR." Glove used in the vacuum of space during "construction of special structures on the exterior of Space Station MIR"Description Cosmonaut Anatoli Artsebarski's flown Soyuz TM-12/Mir EO-9 extra vehicular activity glove.
- Collection of four reels of film: Zapruder, Nix, and Muchmore Films — relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The auction, which contains more than 1,000 items, began on Friday, March 21, and will end on the evening of Wednesday, April 16.