RR Auction is carrying out an online action of a secret pouch that flew to the moon on Apollo 15 mission in 1971 and carried some miniature US flags within it. According to the organizers of the action, the pouch could fetch around US$30,000 or more, while a miniature flag could be sold for US$15,000.

Apollo 15 mission

Apollo 15 mission was launched on July 26, 1971 to study the Hadley Rille area located on the shores of Mare Imbrium on Moon. It was the ninth manned mission in the series of NASA’s Apollo program, and the fourth to achieve landing on the Moon.

Apollo 15 was also the first lunar mission to use the manned Lunar Rover vehicle on the surface of Moon. The commander of the mission was David Scott, while other crew members included Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin and Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden.

The spacecraft landed near Hadley Rille as planned, and then the crew explored the area using the lunar rover vehicle. David Scott and James Irwin spent about 18 hours 30 minutes on lunar extra-vehicular activity. During this mission, a small satellite was also put in lunar orbit. Astronauts collected about 77 kilograms of surface material from the Moon, which included a four-billion-year-old Genesis Rock. The mission ended on August 7, 1971, and was described the most successful manned flight to be ever achieved by NASA.

Auction of the secret pouch from Apollo 15

According to RR Auction, the secret cloth pouch contained miniature US flags that were sent by NASA to moon with intent to later distribute them to some select individuals back on Earth. This beta cloth pouch was 7.5 inch long and 4 inch wide. It was put inside a metal bracket, and glued on the Oxygen Purge System (OPS) atop Mission Commander David Scott’s Portable Life Support System backpack.

The function of OPS was to supply oxygen to astronaut’s suit in event of failure of life support systems on the spacesuit. When Scott was walking on the lunar surface, he had no idea that he is carrying that pouch inside the spacesuit.

After completion of the mission, when this OPS was disassembled, the hidden pouch and flags inside it were retrieved.

All these items were sent to NASA management for disposition. NASA presented the OPS bracket and some flags to Scott, while other flags were distributed to individuals selected by NASA. According to RR Auction, the current auction also includes: (1) a flashlight that flew on Apollo 9; (2) a tie pin from Apollo 11 mission; (3) lunar contour maps used on Apollo 15; and (4) a spacesuit lunar boot whose design was considered unsafe after the Apollo 1 fire.

The online auction will conclude on April 20.