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Two slightly used space suits for sale

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February 21, 2011

The spacesuits of Gennadi Strekalev (left) and Alexei Leonov (right)

The spacesuits of Gennadi Strekalev (left) and Alexei Leonov (right)

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More space history will go on sale in New York on May 5 when Bonhams will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Alan Shepard's historic mission in Freedom 7 with a Space Sale. Some early highlights of the sale include a Sokol K spacesuit worn by cosmonaut Alexei Leonov during the historic 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Project (the symbolic end to the Space Race) and a Sokol KV-2 spacesuit worn by Gennadi Strekalov during a 1990 mission to the Mir space station. Can you tell which is which?

Lots are still being sought for the space history auction, but the two cosmonaut outfits will no doubt be amongst the stand-out items.

The historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was flown from July 15-19, 1975 was a sign of détente, the last Apollo mission, the first joint U.S./Soviet space flight, and the last manned US space mission until the first Space Shuttle flight in April 1981.

It set the tone for the of joint U.S.-Russian space flights such as the Shuttle-Mir Program and the International Space Station, and effectively ended the Space Race.

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was on his second space flight and the Commander of the Soyuz 19 Spacecraft. His Russian Sokol K spacesuit is estimated to fetch between US$100,000-150,000.

The Sokol KV-2 spacesuit used by cosmonaut Gennadi Strekalov on the Soyuz 10, flew in space from August 1 to December 10, 1990, during a mission to the Mir space station. It is expected to fetch between US$60,000-80,000.

The catalogue entry for the 1990 suit makes for interesting reading: "Sokol KV-2" pressure suit, white nylon canvas, royal blue trim. Attached pressurized hood, hinged plastic visor securing to blue-anodized aluminum clavicle flange. Sleeves with adjustable articulating cables in upper arm, webbed belt lashings. Pressure gauge on left sleeve, mirror affixed to right sleeve with elastic strap. Detachable gloves. V-shaped double-zip front closure, lace-up crotch covered by triangular Velco-affixed placket. Anodized aluminum umbilical interfaces on body for electrical, air and coolant supplies, with related cables and hoses. Anodized aluminum pressure equalization valve at center of chest. Support sling wrapping round chest and back, consisting of webbed belts and metal clips; adjustable webbed straps calibrated in metric attaching to metal rings on side-seams and at crotch. Pleated knees, cargo pocket on each thigh and each shin, integral boots with soles. Rubberized cloth lining. Patches of the Soviet standard on left sleeve and State Seal of the Soviet Union on right; Zvezda logo on chest, name label on chest-webbing.

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