Things have been heating up lately over at Blue Origin, the commercial spaceflight company launched by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Since Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon to take a more hands-on role with his other projects, the company has made some rather positive strides. This includes a “dress rehearsal” test flight that took place on April 14th and brought their New Shepard a step closer to bringing passengers to space.
Following the success of this flight, Blue Origin recently announced they are planning to conduct the first crewed flight with the New Shepard by July 20th. In addition to the Blue Origin astronaut crew, one seat is being set aside for a commercial passenger. As of May 5th, Blue Origin announced that this ticket will be available for auction and that the proceeds will be donated to Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future.
If you’re interested in owning an artifact or two from the history of spaceflight, now could be your chance to snag some up. From January 13-20, over 400 artifacts relating to the history of spaceflight will be up on the auction block at RR Auction. There’s a diverse number of different pieces, ranging from an Atlas I and II crow’s foot wrench to numerous items that flew aboard many of the Apollo missions and on Projects Mercury and Gemini.
There are even a few spare parts for the Shuttle, though it’s probably not a good idea to follow along in Johnny Cash’s footsteps; if you build a space shuttle one piece at a time, it’ll cost you more than a dime and I doubt you’ll want to fly it into space.
This auction is filled with loads of memorabilia – much of it signed by astronauts or other NASA personnel – from the Apollo missions. There is a US flag that flew with the Apollo 11 crew to the Moon and back, attached to a certificate signed by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. As you can imagine, this one is going to go for a lot – the bidding starts at $2500.
One piece that has been getting a lot of attention – and will probably also sell for quite a lot, given that it starts out at $1000 – is the original page from the November 1969 Playboy magazine featuring topless Playmate DeDe Lind. The page was stuck to a piece of cardboard aboard Apollo 12, and traveled all the way to the Moon and back aboard the Yankee Clipper.
It’s accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Richard Gordon, the Apollo 12 Command Module pilot, which reads in part: “This cue card, which flew with me to the moon, has been in my sole possession and part of my personal space collection since my return from the moon in 1969 aboard America’s second lunar landing mission, and it remains one of the all-time greatest Apollo era astronaut ‘Gotcha’s!’” Historic, indeed.