The Reason NASA Once Suspended 3 Astronauts



Apollo 15 was the fourth manned mission to land on the moon, and it was the first to use the Lunar Rover, which allowed the astronauts to journey over extended distances from their lunar module. The crew consisted of David R. Scott, lunar module pilot James B. Irwin, and command module pilot Alfred M. Worden. Realizing that there may be a market for items that had flown in space, a German stamp dealer named Herman Sieger set out to recruit an Apollo crew to carry a small number of postmarked envelopes to the moon. In the end, Sieger paid the three Apollo 15 astronauts $7,000 each, and they agreed to carry 398 envelopes to the moon. After splashdown, the astronauts signed the envelopes, purchased stamps, and affixed them to the envelopes. Those envelopes then went on sale in Europe, selling for an average price of $1,500 each. When news reached the United States, a Congressional investigation began. The astronauts were suspended from active flight status and the remaining unsold envelopes were confiscated, approximately 298 of them. To prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, NASA drafted rules as to what astronauts would be allowed to take with them into space.