The space suit US astronaut Don Pettit wore during his terrifying "ballistic re-entry" has sold for $62,500.
That is double its estimate, and testament to collectors' fascination with Pettit's dramatic story.
Pettit was five months into his stay on the International Space Station (ISS) when Space Shuttle Columbia exploded upon re-entry in February 2003.
It forced NASA to temporarily halt its space shuttle flights, which meant Pettit had to hitch a ride with a Russian Soyuz space craft instead, along with two colleagues from the ISS.
The return to Earth was a frightening experience for Pettit. Due to a malfunction, the space craft was forced into ballistic mode, involving a steeper descent and far greater gravitational pressure on the astronauts than is customary. It also meant landing 300 miles of course, in a remote region of Kazakhstan.
The Sokol KV-2 space suit - designed to keep the wearer alive in unpressurised conditions for two hours - is a rarity on the auction scene. That too is a key factor in its strong showing.
As is the growing demand for top grade space memorabilia. The Sokol KV-2 suit Pettit's commander Kenneth Bowersox wore during the re-entry sold for $43,750 last year.
Elsewhere in the Bonhams space sale in New York yesterday, a vintage full scale test model of Sputnik-1 - the first artificial Earth satellite - sold for $269,000.
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