A Soviet spacesuit was purchased over the internet in a Paris auction on Tuesday for the low, low price of a mere 112,484 euros — roughly $144,000. A spokewoman for the auction house Cornette de Saint Cyr wouldn’t name the European collector. She said that the name of the cosmonaut who used the Orlan D suit wasn’t known either.
The Orlan spacesuit is a one-piece design that allows you to more or less climb in through the back. If you look at the above photograph of American astronaut Peggy A. Whitson wearing her thermal underwear, you can see that she’s about to step into the light beige Orlan suit.
Orlan is the Russian word for “sea eagle.” Its semi-rigid design that allows someone to step in quickly has a real advantage over some American designs, since an experienced astronaut can suit up in the Orlan in just five minutes.
Different models of the Orlan spacesuits have been produced over time, but they’ve been used for spacewalks since 1977. The Orlan D, used in the 1980s, allowed cosmonauts to be out of the craft for up to three hours.
Although $144,000 may sound like a heck of a lot of money, the spacesuit would have likely been worth more if the seller had revealed more about its previous missions.
In 2011, a New York auction house sold a Soviet spacesuit worn by Alexei Leonov in 1975 during the historic Apollo-Soyuz that first tested the idea of international cooperation in space — at a time when the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States was still an ongoing reality.
That Soviet spacesuit fetched a cool $242,000.
Want to see what you’re buying from every angle? You Tuber Paolo Amoroso has posted a video showing a German museum’s Orlan Soviet spacesuit:
[Photo courtesy NASA]