Popular culture

Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing jacket could fetch $2 million at auction

Oscar Holland, CNN

(CNN) – Buzz Aldrin is auctioning off a wealth of personal items and historical artifacts from his storied career, including the jacket he wore on the moon landing.

The only spacesuit from the Apollo 11 mission still in private hands, the suit is expected to attract auctions of up to $2 million, according to auction organizer Sotheby’s.

Made from a then newly developed flame retardant material known as Beta Cloth, the jacket is adorned with Aldrin’s name and the NASA logo. Those worn by fellow crew members Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins are both now housed in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The garment is one of a range of items auctioned by Aldrin, 92, who in 1969 became the second person to ever set foot on the moon.

Also for sale is the Eagle lunar module circuit breaker, which sadly broke during the mission, threatening to leave Armstrong and Aldrin stranded on the moon’s surface. It is sold alongside the felt pen with which the latter improvised to turn on the engine and return to the command module in orbit of Columbia.

The objects also carry a maximum estimate of $2 million and have been described by Sotheby’s – along with the jacket – as “among the most important and valuable space exploration artifacts ever offered at auction”.

In a press release, the Aldrin said the collection, which dates back to his time as a student at the United States Military Academy, represents the “summary of my career as an astronaut.”

“After careful consideration, the time seemed right to share these objects with the world, which for many are symbols of a historical moment, but for me have always remained personal memories of a life devoted to science and exploration,” the former astronaut said, adding, “I hope this collection offers a glimpse into what it was like to be Buzz Aldrin.”

The sale, which Sotheby’s has titled “Buzz Aldrin: American Icon,” will take place on July 26, less than a week after the 53rd anniversary of the moon landing.

The auction house’s global head of science and popular culture, Cassandra Hatton, described the collection as “a reflection of a man of incredible strength and drive, a man who made faced times of adversity with determination and perseverance, and who remained logical and level-headed, even in times of great peril.”

Another notable batch from the Apollo 11 mission is a systems activation checklist, containing diagrams and flight data, which Aldrin was supposed to throw on the surface of the moon. Sotheby’s estimated that the manuscript would sell for between $150,000 and $250,000.

Elsewhere in the sale is a hand-stitched banner reading “Go Army Beat Navy” – a reference to the annual Army-Navy football game – which Aldrin unveiled during spacewalks during the Gemini 12 mission of 1966. The item is expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000.

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