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Old 03-02-2019, 08:01 PM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 86
I agree on most all points with Sam on this.

I do disagree that Randall stamped Astros weren't made until 1963 or later. It is apparent the 7 that went to the Astronauts were, and we know a replacement went to one of them. Randall does not forge an exact number of blades, particularly one of such importance. So, there was some number more Orlando blades available for use other than the 7(8) original order.

To say that an Astro sans scales is a "kit knife" is inaccurate and questionable at face value.

I have a very early Astro Sam has examined that came from the original owner that is purported to have been without scales as the family member remember it since acquisition. There is a back story to this that is may have been gifted to the owner by Shepard himself, as they were friends in some capacity. I cannot at this time prove it beyond a doubt, but if the family ever lets go of some of the supporting docs they have, it may come to fruition.

That being said, this is only the second Astro I recall coming in a double brown button Maurice Johnson sheath. Obviously one of the earliest available to the "public", and if actually a gift from Shepard, most certainly one of if not the earliest in the hands of someone as far as I know was outside of direct involvement in the space program. Again,if the family releases the documents, that may be proven otherwise.
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:04 PM
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samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 606
Randall book by Bob Gaddis, page 187.

It appears that Bo sent a second Astro to the Smithsonian for display in 1961 without scales.
We have photos of the one with brown Micarta, but I have not seen the second Scaleless Astro.
Has anyone been to the Air & Space museum in the past to see it?
For the past few years the Freedom 7 (Alan Shepard's) capsule has been at the JFK museum in Boston Ma. Don't know if the knife is still part of the display, or in storage, or if the museum disposed of the knife.
I will be reaching out to the museum to find out

This is the Orlando hand forged Astro with brown Micarta in the Smithsonian


Last edited by samg; 03-15-2019 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:33 AM
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samg samg is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Matthews NC
Posts: 606
On page 186 in Gaddis' Randall Made Knives book, we see a letter from the Air & Space Curator Kenneth Newland referring to the 2nd Astro made as a replica for the museum, made as a "more accurate display."
Referring to the Scaleless Astro which was displayed in the capsule itself, and the other Micarta Astro being displayed to illustrate the workmanship of the knife.


Below is John Glenn's Astro, also on display at the Smithsonian.

Survival knife carried by astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., during the first U.S. manned orbital space flight, Feb. 20, 1962

I have sent a request for information from the Smithsonian. It will take a few weeks for them to respond.
It appears that Bo sent 2 Astros to the museum, one with scales, one without, and the 3rd is from John Glenn.
I do not know the status of these knives, whether they are still displayed or in storage, or disposed of. Hopefully I will find out the status.
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