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Tagged with “neil armstrong” (6)

  1. What The Apollo Astronauts Did For Life Insurance

    This week, Americans have been remembering Neil Armstrong. But before he walked on the moon, he had to solve a much more prosaic problem.

    "You’re about to embark on a mission that’s more dangerous than anything any human has ever done before," Robert Pearlman, a space historian and collector with, told me. "And you have a family that you’re leaving behind on Earth, and there’s a real chance you will not be returning."

    Exactly the kind of situation a responsible person plans for by taking out a life insurance policy. Not surprisingly, a life insurance policy for somebody about to get on a rocket to the moon cost a fortune.

    But Neil Armstrong had something going for him. He was famous, as was the whole Apollo 11 crew. People really wanted their autographs.

    "These astronauts had been signing autographs since the day they were announced as astronauts, and they knew even though eBay didn’t exist back then, that there was a market for such things," Pearlman said. "There was demand."

    Especially for what were called covers -– envelopes signed by astronauts and postmarked on important dates.

    About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers.

    They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts’ families.

    It was life insurance in the form of autographs.

    "If they did not return from the moon, their families could sell them — to not just fund their day-to-day lives, but also fund their kids’ college education and other life needs," Pearlman said.

    The life insurance autographs were not needed. Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon and came home safely. They signed probably tens of thousands more autographs for free.

    But then, in the 1990s, Robert Pearlman says, the insurance autographs started showing up in space memorabilia auctions. An Apollo 11 insurance autograph can cost as much as $30,000.

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  2. Neil Armstrong remembered - ABC Sydney - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

    In memory of Neil Armstrong, Simon Marnie spoke with Scriptwriter/Screenwriter and Performer Warren Coleman this morning. Warren wrote the play "Buzz" a number of years ago and revealed a fascinating insight into the moon landing you may not have known. Listen back if you missed the interview.

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  3. Neil Armstrong: An ‘Exemplary Life’ : NPR

    James Fallows of The Atlantic met Neil Armstrong at a gathering of some of America’s greatest aviators and astronauts, and even in that crowd, Armstrong stood out. Saturday, the astronaut’s family announced he had died at the age of 82. Guest host Laura Sullivan speaks with Fallows about Armstrong’s legacy.

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  4. The First Lunar Landing

    40 years ago today, the Apollo 11 mission successfully completed the first lunar landing. This is the audio from 102 hours and 11 minutes into the mission, just prior to touchdown.

    Charlie Duke in Houston talks to Michael Collins in the command module and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in the lunar lander.

    The full transcript is here:

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