Friday, January 6, 2012

Nasa embroiled in row with Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell

Nasa has entered into a row with Commander Jim Lovell, one of its Apollo 13 heroes, after he auctioned a flight document which helped him steer the stricken craft back to Earth during its failed flight to the Moon in 1970.

Jim Lovell, commander of the doomed mission, sold the 70-page checklist for more than £247,000 ($388,000) at an auction in Dallas last November.

But now Nasa lawyers have laid claim to the document, annotated with Lovell's handwritten calculations that helped secure his team's miraculous return to Earth after disaster struck.

The space agency has challenged the right of Lovell, 83, to sell the ring-bound papers after arguing that there was no evidence they had transferred ownership to him.

The document, which featured in a key scene of the 1995 film Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks as Lovell, is being held in the vault of Heritage Auctions while the dispute is settled.

NASA lawyer Donna Shafer told the auction house: "Only NASA has the authority to clear NASA property for sale." more