Lot 6258: Apollo 11 Engineer's Manuals
13th December 2018
Remarkable pair of ring-bound manuals used by NASA engineer and TELMU flight controller Don Puddy during and after the historic moon-landing mission of Apollo 11. The hand-assembled manuals, both 9 x 11, are annotated on their respective front covers in black felt tip, “LM Timeline, Apollo 11, TELCOM” and “LM5 Checklists,” with Puddy adding his surname below. The inside cover of the “LM Timeline” manual bears a signed handwritten assessment by Flight Director Gene Kranz, which reads: “During the lunar descent Don met many challenges—The communications, telemetry and voice were broken—unusable requiring frequent calls for antenna switching via Mike Collins in the command module—Gene F. Kranz, Flight Director, Apollo 11 Landing.” Immediately below, the mission’s CMP has written in black felt tip: “Thanks, Don Puddy—Michael Collins, Apollo XI.” The copiously annotated manual, in pencil and various colored felt tip, features numerous charts, timelines, and graphs relative to landing and communication procedures—with Puddy isolating, underlining, and making note of certain integral steps—and is divided into numerous tabbed sections, which include: “LM Entry,” “Lunar Surface FLT Plan,” “RNDZ INS-Docking,” “Liftoff/Ascent,” and “EVA (1 Man)” and “EVA (2 Man).” Of particular note, the first page of the manual features a dual-sided sheet tabbed “ABBRV Timeline,” with the front bearing a graph of the first and second injection opportunities, and the opposite side a handwritten list of eight steps concerning the “Loss of Comm PD.” The inner title page reads, “Apollo 11, LM Timeline Book, Part No. SKB32100080–388, S/N 1001,” and the inside back cover is marked: “Instrumentation.” The second, thicker “LM5 Checklists” manual is also annotated throughout, with tabbed sections associated with “Mission Rules,” “CB Function,” “EVA Prep,” “Launch Prep,” and “EMER 40.” Included among its contents are checklists concerning LM-5 activation, lunar surface, and contingency, as well as the mission’s Flight Data File with fold-out charts, and the Apollo Operations Handbook with LM malfunction procedures. Affixed to the inside of the front cover is a hand-marked copy of the “Apollo 11 Shift Schedule,” which shows start times for the teams of Mission Control—Green, White, Black, and Maroon. Additionally, loosely laid into the manual are carbon copies of the Apollo 11–LM 5 TELCOM post-mission report, and a pre-flight report on potential CO2 buildup, with possible causes and solutions. The open spines of both manuals are marked in black felt tip: “APOLLO 11.” In overall fine condition, with expected wear and aging. Accompanied by an image of the Apollo 11 White Team, which shows Puddy seated, pictured second from the left. Don Puddy (1937–2004) was a highly regarded NASA engineer and manager who worked at the space agency for over 30 years. He served as a flight director during Apollo 17, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Skylab, and the first Space Shuttle mission, and he received several awards for his service, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. Puddy was on duty during the Apollo 11 lunar landing as a TELMU, a flight controller responsible for the electrical, life support and communications systems of the Lunar Module, and was a key contributor to Gene Kranz’s White Team, a group pivotal for the successful descent and landing of the Lunar Module Eagle. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin drifted behind the moon, the LM telemetry and voice communication went awry, causing deafening noise on the air-to-ground communications loop. Puddy proved invaluable in this Go or NoGo situation, working alongside CapCom Charlie Duke to maintain voice communication with the Eagle. As mission control continued to lose data from the LM, Puddy made the call to switch to the LM aft antenna, an order relayed to Duke to Collins to Aldrin. The quick restoration of data communications enabled the Eagle to complete telemetry assessments and forward Go command for powered descent and eventual burn. A superb tandem of mission control-used manuals from the personal collection of one of Apollo 11’s under-the-radar heroes.
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