Flight controls used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during Apollo 11 mission to the Moon expected to fetch up to £160,000 each at auction

  • Two rotational hand controls and one translation hand control are in the sale
  • They look like joysticks from a game console and also have trigger buttons
  • NASA audit report found by the sellers has confirmed their authenticity
  • They will go under the hammer in Beverly Hills between July 16 and 17 

The flight controls used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon have gone up for auction in America, where they are expected to fetch up to £160,000 ($200,000) each.

The controls, which look like joysticks from a games console, were used to move the Columbia Command Service Module up, down, left and right as it carried the astronauts to and from the Moon in 1969.

They formed an integral part of the Apollo 11 mission, which marked the first time humans landed on the lunar surface.

The rare artefacts will go under the hammer during the Legends & Explorers auction by Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions, set to take place on July 17 and 18.

A trio of controllers will go under the hammer between July 17 and 18 in the US. It includes this rotational hand control

The controls were on the Columbia Command Service Module which and were used to move it up, down, left and right as it made its way to the Moon. The landing was made by the Eagle

Two rotational hand controls (RHC) from the flight stations of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and a translation hand control (THC) from Armstrong’s station are in the sale.

Each stands about four and a half inches tall and is mounted in a wooden display case with an Apollo 11 badge and official NASA removal tag. 

Their purpose was to override the Columbia’s autopilot, allowing the crew to carry out precise manoeuvres such as docking.

The RHCs used by Aldrin and Armstrong are expected to sell for up to £160,000 ($200,000), while the THC used by Armstrong is expected to be purchased for up to £80,000 ($100,000).

Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s RHCs are also fitted with a trigger switch for activating his headset’s microphone.

Armstrong’s THC also had the capability to abort the Apollo 11 mission during the initial launch phase if the crew encountered a problem, by turning it counter clockwise.

This is a translation hand control used by Neil Armstrong during the crafts manoeuvres 

The controls are to be sold by Julien’s Auctions and were an integral part of the Apollo mission

An official NASA audit report has corroborated the authenticity of all three items.

Although the Columbia took the astronauts into orbit around the Moon, they touched down on its surface using the Eagle Lunar Module.

During the mission, the astronauts first blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on the Saturn V rocket.

This then detached to allow the Columbia to fly to the Moon, which took three days, before the Eagle headed for its surface.

Baseballs signed by the Apollo 11 crew and original photographs from the mission will also go under the hammer during the auction.

WHAT WAS THE APOLLO PROGRAM?

NASA photo taken on July 16, 1969 shows the huge, 363-foot tall Apollo 11 Spacecraft 107/Lunar Module S/Saturn 506) space vehicle launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), at 9:32 a.m. (EDT).

Apollo was the NASA programme that launched in 1961 and got the first man on the moon eight years later.

The first four flights tested the equipment for the Apollo Program and six of the other seven flights managed to land on the moon.

The first manned mission to the moon was Apollo 8 which circled around it on Christmas Eve in 1968 but did not land.

The crew of Apollo 9 spent ten days orbiting Earth and completed the first manned flight of the lunar module – the section of the Apollo rocket that would later land Neil Armstrong on the Moon.  

The Apollo 11 mission was the first one to land on the moon on 20 July 1969.

The capsule landed on the Sea of Tranquillity, carrying mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.

Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the lunar surface while Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon. 

When Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, he said, ‘That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.’

Apollo 12 landed later that year on 19 November on the Ocean of Storms, writes NASA.  

Apollo 13 was to be the third mission to land on the moon, but just under 56 hours into flight, an oxygen tank explosion forced the crew to cancel the lunar landing and move into the Aquarius lunar module to return back to Earth.  

Apollo 15 was the ninth manned lunar mission in the Apollo space program, and considered at the time the most successful manned space flight up to that moment because of its long duration and greater emphasis on scientific exploration than had been possible on previous missions. 

The last Apollo moon landing happened in 1972 after a total of 12 astronauts had touched down on the lunar surface.

Astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin unpacking experiments from the Lunar Module on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Photographed by Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969

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