Historic spacesuit from the union of Apollo and Soyuz floats to $242,000
Alexei Leonov was the first cosmonaut to shake hands with an astronaut away from planet Earth
Bonhams concluded their much anticipated space sale last night with some spectacular pieces of space memorabilia going under the hammer to the great excitement of collectors and investors.
Some were naturally frustrated that the Times Square Concorde Model had been withdrawn from sale, but there was too much else on offer to be distracted for long.
Unsurprisingly, top lot status went to the space-flown spacesuit of Alexei Leonov from ASTP (the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project).This is a key artifact from the symbolic end of the Space Race.
This final Apollo mission carried Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton. On board the Soyuz were Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov. Leonov, particularly, had been a key player in the Space Race, as he was the first man to walk in space in 1965.
On July 17, 1975, the two spacecraft docked, and the commanders, Stafford and Leonov, shook hands through the open hatch of the Soyuz, a moment whose symbolism cannot be overstated. The astronauts and cosmonauts then conducted experiments, exchanged certificates, flags and gifts, ate together, and talked in each other's languages.
This fascinating piece of memorabilia was expected to sell for $100,000-150,000, but in the event collectors valued the item even more highly and it left the stage with a stunning final price of $242,000.
Collectors frustrated to have missed the sale may be interested to know that Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin's signed training suit is currently available.
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