ALSRC, Apollo Lunar Sample Return Container


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The Apollo Lunar Sample Return Container (ALSRC) was an aluminum box with a triple seal. It was used on Apollo lunar landing missions to preserve a lunar-like vacuum around the samples and protect them from the shock environment of the Earth return flight. An aluminum mesh liner helped absorb the shock impacts. Prior to flight, each box was loaded with sample container bags and other sample containment devices. The "rock box" was then closed under vacuum so that it would not contain pressure greater than the lunar ambient pressure. On the Moon, while samples were being loaded, the seals were protected by a Teflon film and a cloth cover which were removed just prior to closing the box. Two ALSRC's were used on each mission.

This particular ALSRC, made by Union Carbide, was for ground training. It is similar to the containers that actually flew to the Moon and were returned with lunar samples on the Apollo missions. NASA transferred it to the Museum in 1974.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from NASA, Johnson Space Center.


7075 AA aluminum case, 2024 aluminum alloy mesh lining


Overall: 8in. x 1ft 7in. x 11 3/4in., 14.8lb. (20.3 x 48.3 x 29.8cm, 6.7kg)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number