Bid on NASA history

By Phil Plait | January 6, 2011 8:00 am

This is really nifty — if you have the bucks: NASA private collectors are auctioning off a bunch of NASA hardware and other items from the Apollo program!

For example, shown here is the headset Charlie Duke (future Apollo 16 moonwalker) used as CAPCOM to talk to the Apollo 11 astronauts, and this was the very headset he used to listen to the first words spoken from another world! That’s seriously cool. Of course, the minimum bid is $5000, and I imagine it’ll go for more. But that would be fun to have. I’d play NASA all the time!

So, if you’re loaded with cash, send it to me go take a look at the lot. Bidding starts on January 13th, and maybe you’ll get a chance to own some real space history.

Tip o’ the spacesuit visor to EvilHick

MORE ABOUT: Apollo, auction

Comments (25)

  1. “I‚Äôd play NASA all the time!”

    Um… don’t you already?

    I do (hangs head in shame…).

  2. Gary

    What? You don’t want #142 Apollo — moon food? Yum!

  3. Maria

    Hah. Flight flown playboy calendar. That is awesome.

  4. If NASA is really strapped for cash, there’s all SORTS of things they could sell or auction off. How about all those spent ceramic heat tiles from the space shuttles? Seems like every time a shuttle would return to Earth, some of those tiles had to be replaced. So what happened to the old ones? Well, according to an old high school friend of mine who has worked for the shuttle program for many years now, they get buried in some sort of bunker with all kinds of other high-tech debris. Why not SELL it? I’d be willing to pay a few hundred bucks for a spent heat tile from one of the shuttles!

  5. Tom

    If I had that headset, you know I’d be playing NASA. I’d be saying “roger Twang…Tranquility we copy you down, we got a bunch of guys about to turn blue…”


  6. Ian

    Sounds like a good idea – gives us normal folk some interesting memorabilia and gives NASA a little extra cash (although I doubt it’s going to fund a new project ;)).

  7. Calli Arcale

    Chuck — I don’t know if it’s a used one, but when I scanned briefly and randomly through the list of items up for auction, I did notice at least one Shuttle TPS tile up for auction. ūüėČ

  8. pk_boomer

    Does the headset still work?

  9. Paul

    Chuck, NASA actually is getting rid of those heat shields you mentioned – 7000 of them! But they’re not for sale to the general public; instead, they’re being distributed to schools and universities: It won’t make them money, but it’s a cool program to get kids interested in NASA, I think.

  10. sean

    NASA is NOT auctioning any of the memorabilia. The items have come from private collections. confirms it.

  11. Brown

    The item of greatest interest to me is the Apollo instrument panel, even though it appears to be from a trainer and never got off the ground. The panel is all wired up and probably doesn’t work, but I wonder what would happen if I set SCE to “Aux” …

    (For those unfamiliar with the meaning of “SCE to ‘Aux,'” read about John Aaron’s famous call during the Apollo 12 mission, or watch the Apollo 12 episode from the series, “From the Earth to the Moon.”)

  12. Frying dutchmen

    Min bid 5000 I guest I’ll be out if someone bids 5001

  13. @ Sean:

    NASA is NOT auctioning any of the memorabilia. The items have come from private collections.

    I’m glad to hear that, actually. Something kind of stinks when stuff you’ve already paid for goes up for auction.

  14. Wayne on the Plains

    @ 5 Tom,

    I asked Charlie Duke about that one time at an ASA meeting. Actually, I asked him if he knew about the change in call sign, but he knew what I was really asking and said that he did know Armstrong was going to change to “Tranquility Base”, but flubbed the word in the general excitement.
    I decided later that he’d probably been asked about that a zillion times and I probably wasn’t being as clever as I thought I was.

  15. MadScientist

    I think I’ll stick to mooching caps and pins from the folks at the AGU. At one point I had a specialized gas cell which was a prototype for one installed on a satellite – but people never ask me about the gas cell, they always talk about the pins and caps.

  16. Happy Camper

    Cool Stuff, unfortunately it’s all out of my price range. How about an F1 engine and lots of kerosene and LOX (not really).
    The local state college used to have an observatory dome that was used at the cape for tracking the launches. The Astronomy club tried to get it (the college didn’t want it any more) but the college destroyed it because they were afraid of liability if anyone got hurt moving it! Sad and very short sighted if you ask me.

  17. ThomasS

    I’m curious though, how does anyone know that this is the actual headset that Charlie Duke used? Couldn’t it just be a ‘piece of the true cross’ pseudo-artifact?

  18. Thomas Ponton

    $5000 is probably a pretty good deal for that headset. I’m sure it only cost $75,000 to make originally:)


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