Home Guide Links Contact Valuation
< Previous Guide

Flown spacecraft ID plates

Next Guide >

The manufacturers of each manned spacecraft had a tradition of creating a special identification plate that was attached to the interior of the spacecraft but designed to be removed after the flight to incorporate into presentations for the crew. Multiple identical plates were produced for each crewmember on the Gemini and Apollo missions so that each astronaut could be given their own presentation.

These highly-collectible momentos are described below.




Spacecraft ID plates - Gemini

Mike Collins' Gemini 10 flown
spacecraft id plate presentation

The McDonnell Aircraft Corp. had two identical spacecraft identification plates fitted in each Gemini capsule during the manufacturing process as momentos for the crew. These brass plates measured 4" x 1.5" (102mm x 38mm) in size and were attached above the astronauts' heads inside the hatch openings, as visible in this photo (with thanks to Jay Rubin for spotting this).

After a flight the plates were removed, at which point the mission date was added and they were then attached to specially-made wooden plaques which included a small model of the Gemini spacecraft under a representation of the St. Louis Arch. These were then presented to the two crewmen by McDonnell.

The Gemini 10 spacecraft id plate was engraved as follows:

GEMINI SPACECRAFT NO. 10
PART NO. 52-00001-10
CMD. PILOT    CDR. JOHN W. YOUNG
PILOT    MAJOR MICHAEL COLLINS
MISSION DATE 18 JULY-21 JULY 1966
MFG. BY McDONNELL AIRCRAFT CORP.
FOR THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS
AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

FLOWN availability - Two id plates were flown on each manned Gemini flight making a total of twenty flown Gemini spacecraft id plates. I've seen six of these plates sold at auction as noted in the Annex below, but may well have missed some.


Spacecraft ID plates - Apollo Command Module

As the manufacturer of the Apollo Command Module, Rockwell created the identifcation plates for these spacecraft. The brass plates were attached to the interior structure of the spacecraft and removed by Rockwell during the post-flight inspection. The launch date was then added to each plate before being fixed to a specially-designed pen and pencil marble desk set produced by Sheaffer.

Jim Lovell's Apollo 8 Command Module
flown spacecraft id plate desk set

Each brass plate measured 3.25" x 1.75" (82mm x 44mm) in size and was mounted on a 10" x 5" x 0.75" (25cm x 13cm x 2cm) marble desk set.

The Apollo 8 spacecraft id plate, shown on the right, is engraved as follows:

APOLLO VIII
SPACECRAFT # 103
PART NO. V36-000002-501
COL. FRANK BORMAN USAF
CAPT. JAMES A. LOVELL USN
MAJ. WILLIAM A. ANDERS USAF
LAUNCH DATE - 12-21-1968

It is worth noting that the design of the desk set was apparently changed slightly for Apollo 16, as a lucite block containing a fragment of the spacecraft heatshield was mounted behind the ID plate.

FLOWN availability - Three id plates were flown on each manned Command Module flight so there were a total of six CM s/c id plates flown to Earth orbit (Apollos 7 & 9), nine flown to the moon without landing (Apollos 8, 10 & 13), and eighteen flown to the lunar surface. Going beyong the lunar missions there were of course a further twelve scid plates flown to Earth orbit on the three manned Skylab flights and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission.

A number of these flown s/c id plates have found their way to auction over the years as noted in the Annex below.


Spacecraft ID plates - Apollo Lunar Module

As with Rockwell and the Command Modules, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. produced similar spacecraft identification plates for the Apollo Lunar Modules

Dick Gordon's Apollo 12Lunar Module
flown spacecraft id plate presentation

A spacecraft identification plate was fixed inside each Lunar Module when it was manufactured, and three identical copies were made as souvenirs. These three plates were stowed in the PPKs or Official Flight Kit at launch, although whether this was in the Command Module or Lunar Module is not entirely certain.

The three identical plates were returned to Grumman after the flight at which point the launch and splashdown dates were added and the plates were affixed to a wooden wall plaque for presentation to the astronauts.

Each brass plate measured 5.25" x 1.75" (133mm x 44mm) in size and was mounted on a 10" x 11" (25cm x 18cm) wooden shield-shaped wall plaque beneath a metal die-cut representation of the lunar module.

The text on the spacecraft identification plate from the Apollo 12 Lunar Module, affixed to the plaque shown on the right, reads as follows:

APOLLO XII LUNAR MODULE-6
CDR. C. CONRAD CDR. R. GORDON CDR. A.BEAN
PART NO. LDW280-54000-23     SERIAL NO. 001
DSGN CONT NO. 1ST LUNAR EXPLORATION     CONTR NO. NAS 9-1100
LAUNCH 11-14-69     SPLASHDOWN 11-24-69
MFD. BY GRUMMAN AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING CORP., BETHPAGE, NEW YORK

FLOWN availability - Three id plates were flown on each manned Lunar Module flight so there were a total of three LM scid plates flown to Earth orbit (Apollo 9), six flown to the moon without landing (Apollos 10 & 13), and eighteen possibly flown to the lunar surface.

A number of these flown s/c id plates have found their way to auction over the years as noted in the Annex below.


Annex: Flown spacecraft ID plates sold at auction or identified in private or museum collections

Mssn.S/CAstronautSold viaSale DateLot no.PriceReference / Notes
GT3Grissom
Young
GT4McDivitt
White
GT5Conrad
CooperFarthest ReachesMar 5 2014n/aTBDAuction listing 
GT6SchirraOdysseyFeb 27 199447$1,150On plaque. No arch or s/c model.
Stafford
GT7Borman
Lovell
GT8Armstrong
Scott
GT9Stafford
CernanIn a private collection.
GT10Young
CollinsRegencyOct 10 200884$1,525
AuroraApr 24 2004239$3,900Auction listing 
GT11ConradOdysseyFeb 27 1994182$1,093
GordonGoldbergApr 17 2010386$3,995Auction listing 
GT12Lovell
AldrinSuperiorMay 16 1998508$3,565
AS7CMSchirraOdysseyFeb 27 199487$1,380
Eisele
Cunningham
AS8CMBorman
LovellHeritageOct 7 200879$8,963Auction listing 
Anders
AS9CMMcDivitt
SchweickartHeritageNov 30 201140041$5,676Auction listing 
Scott
LMMcDivittAstronaut CentralON SALEn/a$26,495Site listing 
SchweickartHeritageNov 30 201140042$13,145Auction listing 
Scott
AS10CMCernanHeritageMar 25 200824$3,346Auction listing 
Stafford
YoungHeritageApr 1 2009112$3,884Auction listing 
LMCernanOn display at Science Museum, Oklahoma (on loan from Kansas Cosmosphere)
Stafford
YoungHeritageApr 1 2009113$15,535Auction listing 
AS11CMArmstrong
AldrinSuperiorJan 11 1993247Private collection 
Collins
LMArmstrong
Aldrin
Collins
AS12CMConrad
BeanHeritageMay 14 201440158$7,188Auction listing 
Gordon
LMConradOdyssey1994215$8,625
HeritageNov 2 201240151$31,070Auction listing 
BeanHeritageMay 14 201440157$50,000Auction listing 
GordonHeritageMar 25 200889$34,655Auction listing 
GoldbergApr 17 2010439$25,850Auction listing 
AS13CMLovellHeritageApr 1 200966$11,353Auction listing 
Haise
Swigert
LMLovellHeritageApr 1 200967$47,800Auction listing 
Haise
Swigert
AS14CMShepard
Mitchell
Roosa
LMShepard
Mitchell
Roosa
AS15CMScott
Irwin
Worden
LMScott
IrwinBonhamsApr 13 20101244$30,500Auction listing 
Worden
AS16CMYoungHeritageApr 1 2009134$6,573Mounted with heatshield plug ;
Auction listing 
Duke
Mattingly
LMYoungHeritageApr 1 2009135$33,460Auction listing 
Duke
Mattingly
AS17CMCernan
Schmitt
Evans
LMCernan
Schmitt
EvansHeritageOct 8 2009169$31,070ID plate only - no wooden plaque ;
Auction listing 
SLICMConrad
Weitz
Kerwin
SLIICMBean
Lousma
Garriott
SLIIICMCarr
PogueASFNov 6 201038$2,575Auction listing 
Gibson

Legal Disclaimer:

While every effort is made to ensure that the content of this website is accurate, the website is provided “as is” and I make no representations or warranties in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information found on it. Nothing on this website should be taken to constitute professional advice or a formal recommendation and the author excludes all representations and warranties relating to the content and use of this site.

In no event shall the author be liable for any incidental, indirect, consequential or special damages of any kind, or any damages whatsoever, including, without limitation, those resulting from loss of profit, goodwill, income, or anticipated savings, whether or not advised of the possibility of such damage, arising out of or in connection with the use of this website or any linked websites.

< Previous Guide [ Back to the Guide ] Next Guide >