From the end of the Space Race... Cosmonaut suit could bring $150,000

This Thursday, May 5, sees Bonhams present a truly spectacular range of space memorabilia which cannot fail to grab the attention of collectors and investors around the world.

The 250-lot auction offers a wide range of different types of materials from annotated checklists to equipment from aviation history, the Apollo missions and beyond.

Two items which cannot fail to grab the attention of collectors are space-flown space suits:

The first is cosmonaut Gennadi Strekalov's Soyuz TM-10 Space Suit. This is his "Sokol KV-2" ("Falcon" in Russian) pressure suit, manufactured by Zvezda and flown to Mir in August 1990.

Made from white nylon canvas with royal blue trim, it is approximately 60 inches tall. Attached is a pressurised hood with hinged polycarbonate visor secured to a blue-anodised aluminium clavicle flange.

The sleeves come with adjustable articulating cables in upper arm and webbed belt lashings. There is a pressure gauge on the left sleeve, and a mirror affixed to the right sleeve with an elastic strap. The gloves are detachable.

A V-shaped double-zip provides front closure. There are anodised aluminium umbilical interfaces on body for electrical, air and coolant supplies, with related cables and hoses. It is listed at $60,000-80,000.

Alexei Leonov Flown Space Suit
Alexei Leonov's historic flown space suit

The other suit is more exciting still. It is Alexei Leonov's flown Space Suit 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 is expected to sell for $100,000-150,000 in Bonhams' auction which takes place in New York. Collectors may also be interested to know that Buzz Aldrin's signed training suit is also available away from the sale.

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