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This incredible heatshield plug was once part of the Apollo 11 Command Module ‘Columbia’ which ferried the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Moon. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans in history to step foot upon another celestial body. The plug was removed from the reaction control system panel of the Command Module from famous mission post-flight! From the collection of Ray F. Larson, Vice-President and Chief Engineer of Rockwell International.
These plugs helped protect the Command Module from the heat of reentry and were removed from the access doors post-flight; they were threaded into holes to cover bolts around the exterior of the spacecraft. The flown heatshield plug measures approx. 0.9'' x 0.5'', with the underside of the plug still bearing the bolt imprint from where it was attached to the bolt holding the heatshield in place. Intact heatshield plugs are incredibly rare as most have been cut up and/or embedded in acrylic. A beautiful piece of history from the most famous expedition in human history!
To learn more about the Command Module Reaction Control System click here.
(Left) Apollo 11 Command Module Hatch Door. (Right) Apollo 11 Command Module on display at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington.