For Sale: Apollo Command Module LiOH Canister
  • Carbon dioxide absorber element from the Apollo Command Module.
  • Extremely rare, as this is the only Apollo LiOH canister known to be offered which had been installed in a Command Module for pre-flight testing of the Environmental Control System.
  • Contains lithium hydroxide to absorb the carbon dioxide exhaled by the astronauts in the spacecraft, and charcoal to filter odors from the air.
  • Two elements of this type were used in parallel in the Apollo Environmental Control System. They were changed daily. About 30 canisters were loaded per mission.

Price: US$ 9,400

  • Prices for Apollo LiOH canisters have risen dramatically with interest in historic Apollo moon missions. Although not typical, a final price of $11,875 was realized in a July 2019 Sotheby’s auction for a LiOH canister with oxidation spots.
  • This type of canister was made famous by the Apollo 13 mission where Command Module LiOH canisters had to be adapted to work in the Lunar Module.
  • Identical to flight filter elements. Stamped GROUND TEST ONLY.
  • This type of element (-0051) was replaced quickly with -0061, identical except that a sample of the LiOH was taken and packaged before assembly.
  • Dated "APR 14 '69". Measures 7 1/8" x 7 1/8" x 5 1/4" and weighs about 8 pounds.
  • A green/aluminum Airesearch label on the side reads: "ABSORBER ELEMENT CO2, Part 813540-2-1, Serial 108-286, Order NAS-9-150, NASA 00400 0029403, Ref Spec ME901-0218-0051."
  • Aluminum housing has oxidation spots, thought to be from moisture from Florida storage years ago.
  • Still packaged in original plastic bags.
  • Attached tag indicates that this canister was placed in Apollo Spacecraft 118 (the final Skylab mission) for testing on June 6, 1973. It was then removed two days later. Skylab 4 was launched November 16, 1973 with a flight duration of 84 days.
  • The tag lists the weight as 2255 grams (4.97 lbs.) when installed, and  2562 grams (5.65 lbs.) at completion of testing.
  • This item came from the Charles Bell estate. Bell was a NASA employee at the Kennedy Space Center and a lifelong collector of space artifacts.

During the Apollo 13 mission the astronauts were stranded in the Lunar Module for much of the mission. Using instructions from the ground they improvised a way to adapt the Command Module carbon dioxide absorbers for use in the Lunar Module. Otherwise the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the cabin air from the astronauts own breathing would have killed them.

Photo below shows a Command Module carbon dioxide absorber element placed in the Apollo 13 Lunar Module "Aquarius" with the improvised adapter, made by the Apollo 13 astronauts. (NASA photo)

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