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Lot 44: APOLLO LUNAR MODULE PROPELLANT COUPLING

Natural History Auction

by I.M. Chait

May 16, 2010

Beverly Hills, CA, USA

Live Auction
Past Lot
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Description: APOLLO LUNAR MODULE PROPELLANT COUPLING
This fascinating artifact is a perfect example of the frustrations expressed by Grumman's machine parts and tool-making crews with NASA's Super Weight Improvement Program (SWIP) - which required the Apollo engineers to invent ways of shaving off every possible gram of mass to save fuel, and which produced odd, twisted shapes that were seemingly impossible to manufacture.

This artifact is a spare rocket part that passed quality control (with red numbers stamped on the metal), but which was never assigned to a specific Lunar Module. A thin metal disk at the fuel terminal is engraved extensively with "on" and "off" positions for manual control, including "Lift First" and "Lift Second" for final mounting, and the initials "GAEC" (Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.).

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