April 15, 2010
“Well I can’t say that this thing hasn’t been filled with excitement,” said astronaut Jim Lovell as Apollo 13′s crew crowded into the Command Module Odyssey—following the explosion of an onboard tank in the Service Module—and headed back to Earth. CapCom immediately joked, “Well, James, if you can’t take any better care of a spacecraft than that, then we might not give you another one.”
Exactly 40 years after the events of Apollo 13, Bonhams held its annual space history auction. Included in the 290 items auctioned were the flight notes of Jim Lovell and Fred Haise (left), used during their nerve-wracking return to Earth. The notes, which sold for $45,750, include such reminders as “Turn LM up link squelch off” (written in red ink by Lovell), and comments about various circuit breakers (written in black ink by Haise).
The auction also included memorabilia from Apollo 11, such as this flight plan (right), which was signed by Neil Armstrong on August 9, 1969, while the crew was in quarantine after splashdown. The sheet, which sold for $152,000, includes Armstrong’s famous quote: “One small step for a man—one giant leap for mankind.”