Mon, Dec 05, 2011
James Lovell's Hand Calculations Saved Spacecraft
The phrase, "Houston, we have a problem," is a famous line from
the 1995 Ron Howard movie,"Apollo 13." Now, the handwritten notes
of Commander James Lovell, including the calculations which led to
the safe return of the spacecraft to Earth, have brought $388,375
Lovell (pictured) tells Reuters, "I was cleaning out some
old stuff on a bookcase and found it. My kids took all they wanted
and I donated a lot of my collection to museums. I decided to put
this up for auction so that someone who is really interested in
this piece of history can enjoy it."
The hand calculations contained in the notes may be an oddity to
young people today, who have more computational power in their
mobile phones than was carried on the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.
Lovell recalls, "I didn't even have a calculator to do the
arithmetic. I had to ask the people in Houston to double-check my
Michael Riley, a senior historian at Heritage Auctions, adds,
"That's why this is a very, very important piece of space
memorabilia and American history."
Reuters reports other space memorabilia sold Wednesday included
an American flag from the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, which brought
$33,460, and an overall training jacket worn by retired astronaut
John Young, which fetched $17,925.
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