Following their sale yesterday which included meteorites, the auction house Hôtel Drouot is to sell manmade items which will be a cause for excitement to space collectors.
Amongst the many lots of interest are a flown hammer taken to the MIR space station for use in EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity including repairs), listed at €5,000. The handle is designed to provide an extra firm grip to reduce the chances of it floating off into space.
A section from a Soyuz reclining chair is estimated at €7,000-8,000. It has been carefully designed to absorb as much shock as possible, and was used by cosmonauts when landing their capsule. There are few similar objects in private hands.
Two pieces of particular interest from the outside of spacecraft are a hydrogen peroxide thruster and a flown heatshield.
The heatshield from a Soyuz capsule is composed of ebonite, glass fibre and carbon. It includes two openings which allowed the evacuation of gasses from the engine on landing to assist in slowing down the capsule.
The hydrogen peroxide thruster would have been used to make fine adjustments to the trajectory of a Soyuz capsule to stop it drifting off course. Both it and the heatshield are expected to sell for €5,000-6,000.
The pieces which will probably be most exciting to collectors are the space suits. Paul Fraser Collectibles currently has an exciting suit of our own to offer: the flight suit Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins wore on his return from that mission.
One particularly fascinating piece is a suit flown to MIR and worn by Cosmonaut Dzhanibekov Vladimir Aleksandrovich. Specifically, it is a light suit designed to be worn during take-off and landing, and includes a communications cable and a pressure gauge - all important for when a spacecraft is opening and there may be great fluctuations in pressure.
Aleksandrovich was a very experienced cosmonaut, being a commander on five missions: Soyuz 27, 39, T-6, T-12 and T-13. The suit is estimated at €30,000-35,000.
A suit from the Buran space shuttle program is notable primarily for its rarity. Only four suits were flown as part of the program's single flight in 1988, and were mostly worn by mannequins. This one is expected to sell for €35,000-40,000.
The pièce de résistance of the auction is a space suit designed for work outside in space. It comes with an electronic panel on the chest, equipment to attach them to the spacecraft and is well-shielded to protect the cosmonaut inside from cosmic rays and mini-meteorites.
This fantastic piece of equipment is valued at €65,000-75,000, and it is probably worth a space enthusiast attending the auction just to see it. The sale begins on December 2, in Paris.
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Images: Hôtel Drouot's