It was 47 years ago, on July 20, 1969, that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin of the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon.
This year, on that anniversary, New York auction house Bonhams is holding a Space History auction, an occasion that offers a rare peek at some fascinating artifacts from the space age, including some from the Apollo 11 flight and Soyuz missions.
Items up for auction include astronaut training equipment, spacesuits, original documents signed by astronauts, full size models of satellites, navigation aids used in space and photographic prints.
It is only recently that such artifacts have become available in this way. Ownership of artifacts from government-run space missions could be unclear, with some saying they were the property of the individual and some saying that the federal government had the rights to them. That changed four years ago, as Bonhams points out, when President Obama signed into law a bill clarifying that Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo crew members, dating through the completion of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, would "have full ownership of and clear title to" artifacts received during their missions, and that the Federal Government would have no claim to such artifacts "transferred, sold, or assigned to a third party by an astronaut described in subsection."