On July 16, 2009, Bonham’s auction house in New York will he hosting a “Space Sale.” In other words, tons of trinkets from NASA’s golden era will go under the hammer.
Among the lots is this ultra-cool object which I’m tempted to bid on, though I don’t know what the hell I would do with it:
MERCURY SPACECRAFT LIFE RAFT.
Life raft, mainly Neoprene and nylon Rip-Stop, enclosed in a 14 by 9½ by 5½ inch silver-gray case with nine snap-buttons and a handle strap along the top. Two snaps buttons above the wording “LIFE RAFT” secure the top of a large front pocket. Opening the outer nine snap-buttons allows access to a pull-cord to deploy the raft. This cord would activate the large CO2 cartridge (still enclosed) which would inflate the raft. A 5 by 8 inch card inside the front pocket reads “6-18-63 Liferaft and CO2 cylinder checked this date [with initials “GS”]. To be checked every 90 days.”
The life raft was part of the Mercury survival equipment, designed for use after a launch abort or emergency landing following a space flight. A life raft of this design was actually used after Astronaut Scott Carpenter’s Aurora 7 flight of May 1962. Due to an attitude mis-alignment during the retro-rocket sequence to return to earth, his spacecraft landed some 250 miles further down-range than planned.
Estimate: $2,500 – 3,500