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Apollo Flown CM Hatch Label Set

The only known complete set of Apollo Command Module access hatch labels in existence! The set consists of the Apollo 13 CM "Odyssey" boost cover release, Apollo 14 CM "Kitty Hawk" unlock/unlatch, Apollo 15 CM "Endeavour" rescue arrow and pressure equalization valve, and Apollo 16 CM "Casper" purge port labels.

Each flown label includes research, documentation, and museum-grade protective display cases.

Value Indicator: A single Rescue Arrow label from the Apollo 11 Command Module was sold in 2017 for $147,572. Information on this sale can be found here.

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This is the only known complete set of flown Apollo Command Module hatch labels in existence!

After the recovery of each Command Module, the spacecrafts were off-loaded from the recovery ships and transported to a deactivation site in Downey, CA. It was here where North American Aviation/Rockwell employees performed the various tasks associated with the deactivation and decontamination of the spacecraft. During this phase, the entirety of the kapton foil, and the hatch labels along with it, were removed and discarded to allow access to the control panels beneath. With the exception of the few labels that remained attached to the access hatches currently on display in various museums, the whereabouts of the remaining labels are largely unknown, assuming they survived at all.

Each label was originally applied directly to the outer kapton foil layer of the respective Command Module and exhibit burn patterns and bubbling from the spacecraft's fiery descent through the atmosphere during its return to Earth.

The set consists of:

  • Apollo 13 CM "Odyssey" flown Boost Cover Release label
  • Apollo 14 CM "Kitty Hawk" flown Unlock/Unlatch label
  • Apollo 15 CM "Endeavour" flown Rescue Arrow label
  • Apollo 15 CM "Endeavour" flown Pressure Equalization Valve label
  • Apollo 16 CM "Casper" flown Purge Port Label

Also included:

  • Certificates of Authenticity for each label
  • Complete research paper by The Space Collective
  • Documentation & name tags of the North American Aviation employee
  • Each label comes protected in a museum-grade Perspex VA 004 acrylic display
  • Optional Extra: 1/1 scale precision replica of the Apollo 11 Command Module access hatch (as pictured). Build time is approx. 6-9 months.

Each label had a specific purpose:

  • The rescue arrow label pointed to the panel used to gain access to the spacecraft’s cabin from the outside, which would have been used in the event of an emergency.
  • The pressure equalization label pointed to the area used to equalize the atmospheric pressure within the Command Module cockpit to the pressure outside, allowing the hatch to be opened.
  • The boost cover release label pointed to the area that housed a spring-loaded plunger connected to a gearbox that, when used, would strike an actuator on the BPC hatch and then return to unlock it, allowing it to be opened.
  • The purge port label indicated the area that allowed the connection of waste bags or similar containers for emptying into space and would have been for backup purposes if the primary urine dump line did not work.
  • The unlock/unlatch label pointed to the area that allowed for unlocking the hatch for post-recovery or emergency egress.

Authentication Information:

After returning to Earth, each Command Module underwent decontamination and decommissioning. During this process, the kapton foil surrounding the spacecraft was removed and discarded, and the hatch door labels were destined to meet the same fate. Remarkably, this one was saved and kept by one of the recovery crew, where it remained in their collection until we acquired it.

Through extensive research and photo matching, we can conclude with absolute certainty that these were the very same labels from the respective Command Module primary access hatches. A full research paper is included with this artifact with all of the specific information regarding authenticity.

Also included is documentation from a North American Aviation employee from where the boost cover release, unlock/unlatch, pressure equalization valve, and purge port labels originated. This documentation includes copies of Rockwell name badges, a silver snoopy award letter signed by Alan Bean, a photograph of the employee receiving the award from Fred Haise, a Rockwell recommendation letter to NASA, a photograph of the employee and his respective team members, and an article he wrote on remembering Apollo.

The Apollo 15 rescue arrow originates from the collection of a United States Marine stationed aboard the USS Okinawa recovery ship.

Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity:

All of our artifacts are thoroughly and extensively researched before being listed for sale, so much so that we're proud to offer a lifetime guarantee of authenticity for this and other artifacts listed throughout our website. We also hold a record of every piece we sell, which can be identified and searched in our online database using the serial number listed on your certificate of authenticity.

Please Note: The Command Module hatch pictured is not included in this sale but is available for purchase separately. The hatch in the image is intended as a visual guide to show exactly where on the hatch the labels were located.

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