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  Apollo flight plans: Distribution and population

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Author Topic:   Apollo flight plans: Distribution and population
Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-15-2012 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In trying to organize and sort through many of my vast paper files and accumulations, I came across an interesting letter dated in Feb. 1973.

It was a letter addressed to me when I was a high school student written by T. W. Holloway, NASA's Apollo Data File Manager at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.

Here are a few excerpts from it that I thought would be interesting to share with other Apollo flight plan collectors;

  1. Approximately 2,300 flight plans (each edition) were printed for each Apollo mission.

  2. About 1,300 of those were distributed to NASA and needed support contractors. The remainder of the 2,300 copies (1,000) were supplied to various PAO (Public Affairs Offices) for distribution to the press and interested members of the public such as yourself.

  3. As you might imagine, copies of Apollo Flight Plan manuals become very hard to find after each mission.

kosmo
Member

Posts: 196
From:
Registered: Sep 2001

posted 05-15-2012 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kosmo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If this is the case, why does there seem to be so few of the Apollo 8 flight plans (Apollo 7 maybe also) that come up for sale/auction, compared to other Apollo flight plans? I can't remember the last time I saw an Apollo 8 flight plan, while Apollo's 9 thru 17 seem to come up quite frequently.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-18-2012 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I may have touched on this before, but with current prices for Apollo Flight Plans bucking economic trends, there must be a possibility that some people might try to make fake copies with sophisticated modern printers. However, there is one feature of the flight plans in my possession which could hardly be duplicated: the "serrated" nature of the left-hand edge or spine.

Each of my Final Flight Plans (Apollos 12, 14, 15 and 16) has this serrated edge, with pages stuck together in small batches.

Can someone who is familiar with the Flight Plans confirm that ALL Apollo Flight Plans have the serrated spine? What about the landing missions which have escaped me so far, Apollos 11 and 17? What about the early missions, 7-10?

Charlie16
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Posts: 320
From: Italy
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 05-18-2012 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Charlie16   Click Here to Email Charlie16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Ken, for valuable information.

I'm the lucky owner of all the flight plans of the Apollo missions from Apollo 7 to Apollo 17 (many signed by astronauts). In fact find Apollo 8 was apologetic and very expensive. (Lovell when he saw for to sign: but where the hell did you find it!) Flight plans are not raised easily duplicated because have the patina of time.

Flight plans are for me the essence of the missions, the condensate of the complexity of the Apollo Program.

J.L
Member

Posts: 388
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 05-19-2012 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
What about the early missions, 7-10?
My Apollo 7 and 8 flight plans have the "serrated" edges.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-19-2012 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While not wanting to stray from the subject of Flight Plans, I have seen two types of Apollo 11 Press Kit: one with and one without the "serrated edge." Both have what Luigi calls the "patina of time" (yellowing around the edges and slight foxing) but does that mean that the one without the serrated edge is a (period) copy?

I have lost out in a couple of auctions for the Apollo 11 Flight Plan, and I'm fairly certain from the pictures supplied that at least one of those Apollo 11 Flight Plans (which both sold for over $1,000) did NOT have a serrated left-hand spine. Did that make it a copy? Bearing in mind the high prices, I think it's important to be sure. Does anyone own up to having an Apollo 11 Flight Plan without a serrated spine? Could we see a close-up of the spine of one which is undoubtedly genuine?

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-22-2012 05:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken - thanks for starting an interesting thread.
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Can someone who is familiar with the Flight Plans confirm that ALL Apollo Flight Plans have the serrated spine?
Geoffrey - they do NOT all have the serrated edge. Indeed they are inconsistent. I have two Apollo 8 flight plans: one serrated; the other not. Apollo 11 Final is serrated, but the Prelim flight plan is not. I would have thought that the main barrier to replicating these was the accuracy of the colour of the cover.

kosmo
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Posts: 196
From:
Registered: Sep 2001

posted 05-22-2012 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kosmo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My Apollo 8 Final Flight Plan does not have the serrated edges, but does have the patina of time.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-22-2012 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul, good point about the colour of the Flight Plan covers, but is there a definitive list of Flight Plan cover colours? What if one has been exposed to light and the colour fades? Should we beware a Flight Plan with a clean, unfaded cover (even though it may just have been stored out of the light)?

By the way, is it considered acceptable to treat the Final Flight Plan as the definitive document, even though changes ("Change A" etc)were apparently made on all Apollo flights?

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-23-2012 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The colours on mine for comparison are:
  • Apollo 7 - pink
  • Apollo 8 - light blue
  • Apollo 11 - pinky orange or orangey pink
  • Apollo 12 - light blue
  • Apollo 13 - pink
  • Apollo 14 - light blue
  • Apollo 16 - light green
  • Apollo 17 - white
None are faded, but that doesn't mean they are immune.

nasamad
Member

Posts: 1890
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 05-23-2012 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Add the Apollo 10 plan in yellow to the list.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 05-23-2012 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apollo 15 is pale green (and my copy has the serrated edge).

I suppose the overall point I am making is that if you bid on eBay for a fairly rare NASA book (say the hardback edition of "Stages to Saturn") it's hardly likely that it's a fake. No-one is going to set up a printing process to fake an old book.

But if you bid for an Apollo 11 Final Flight Plan (valued in four figures) might it be worth someone's while to use a sophisticated scanner/printer and a couple of artificially "stressed" and suitably coloured pieces of thin card to create a plausible fake Flight Plan?

The would-be fraudster faces two main problems: the serrated edge and our old friend the rusty staple. I don't see how anyone could duplicate the serrated edge, but I am aware that it's not uncommon to remove the staple to prevent rust damage to the pages.

The problem as I see it is that if someone has just paid a very substantial sum for a Final Flight Plan and finds that (1)the original rusty "period" staple has been replaced or just removed; and (2) the spine is not serrated; how can they be confident that their purchase is genuine? Yellowing paper? How long would it take to "age" a batch of paper left out in sunlight?

Is this a little paranoid? Perhaps, but how far will fraudsters go to make a big profit?

Bottom line: if anyone bids on an Apollo Final Flight Plan, ask if the spine is serrated. I take Paul's point that there are inconsistencies, but why take a chance?

Charlie16
Member

Posts: 320
From: Italy
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 05-24-2012 12:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Charlie16   Click Here to Email Charlie16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the flight plan with the rust, I removed the paper clip and rings. I replaced it with new rings and kept the originals. There is not always the staple (sometimes there are rings) Pages are usually paired and never individual.

In these photographs you can see:

  • the original rusty (Apollo 14)
  • the serrated spines (Apollo 16)
  • the color (Apollo 10)
  • the color (Apollo 9)
 

 

60spacestuff
Member

Posts: 25
From: Long Island, NY
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 02-26-2013 05:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 60spacestuff   Click Here to Email 60spacestuff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have an Apollo 11 final flight plan with no serrated spine. I have no doubt that this is an original item given to a member of the press at the time. It is one of many items that have been stored away in boxes from the 60s.

David C
Member

Posts: 80
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 02-26-2013 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have 8, 11 and 16 - final editions. All have serated spines. My 8 flight plan is particularly worn. The outer front cover is now grey, the inner and back covers remain light blue. I think that these genuine wear patterns would be hard to forge. Unfortunately they are also hard to verify over the internet during an on-line auction.

All times are CT (US)

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