Soviet capsule which scouted ahead of Gagarin could bring $10m at Sotheby's
Bearing a mannequin in place of a person, the 1961 craft cleared the path for the historic flight
As many readers may recall, 50 years ago on April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was sent up on a small spherical satellite-spacecraft named Vostok 3KA-3 to overcome the earth's atmosphere, and became the first man walk in space.
However, even then the mission was considered plenty dangerous enough to test the craft with a crash-test dummy.
Three weeks earlier, the Soviet space program preparing the implementation of Gagarin's historic breakthrough, made the final test satellite launch Vostok (East 3KA-2) with a dummy cosmonaut (Nicknamed "Ivan Ivanovich"), exactly repeating the situation of a man and a dog on board a spacecraft.
To exit the ship in Earth's orbit and make his return took 115 minutes. To mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight a special auction will be held in New York, April 12, 2011, Sotheby's will offer the spacecraft Vostok 3KA-2 which opened the way for the historic mission of Gagarin.
Still scorched from re-entry, the February ship, carrying a remarkably broad estimate of $2m-10m, will be presented to the public in the gallery of New York Avenue, Sotheby's.
Collectors interested in cosmonauts may have noted that a spacesuit - Sokol K - used by Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, commander of the Soyuz 19 spacecraft is due to auction at Bonhams.
It was worn during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, effectively considered to be the end of the 'Space Race' which dominated the previous decade and is expected to bring $100,000-150,000. An early Russian spacesuit, sold for €87,497 in 2009
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