Buzz Aldrin, an American astronaut, sold the space suit he wore on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 for a record-breaking $2.8 million at auction.
The jacket, which was offered in the “Buzz Aldrin: American Icon” sale at a Sotheby’s New York auction, was estimated to sell for between $1 and $2 million. The jacket becomes the most valuable American space artifact ever sold at auction.
The jacket, which featured Aldrin’s name tag on the left breast above the Apollo 11 mission emblem and the American flag on the left shoulder, attracted interest from a number of potential buyers when it was first presented during the auction. However, a phone bidder ultimately took home the prized jacket.
The jacket, according to Sotheby’s, is constructed of Beta cloth, a fire-resistant material that was added to spacesuits in the wake of the 1967 Apollo 1 tragedy that claimed the lives of three men.
Mr. Aldrin donned the white in-flight jacket as he sped through space in Apollo 11’s command module Columbia, which was adorned with a US flag and the NASA insignia.
The inflight jacket was worn by Mr. Aldrin for the bulk of the six-day space voyage; he only removed it halfway through to change into a pressure suit for touching down on the lunar surface.
Around the world, 650 million people are said to have watched the event on television.
He and Neil Armstrong then returned to the Apollo mission and changed back into their in-flight jackets, which he described in a note accompanying the item as “far more comfortable” after spending more than 21 hours on the Moon.
“This is an incredibly rare thing. That makes this the only flown garment from the Apollo 11 mission that is available to be purchased,” Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Science and Popular Culture said.
A broken circuit breaker switch and the black felt-tip pen that Mr. Aldrin used to quickly patch it so that the crew wouldn’t become stuck on the Moon are among the other items that are being auctioned off.
A flight plan that traveled into space and back with the crew was purchased for $819,000 (£680,000), bringing the total amount raised by the sale of the astronaut’s personal belongings to $8.2 million (£6.8 million).
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