On April 8th, the New York City branch of Bonhams will be hosting a "Space History" auction, and Gizmodo has been given a preview of the some of the historically unique, space age artifacts that will be for sale. From full-body Soviet space suits to a control panel once used on the space station Mir, the range of objects is pretty extraordinary; earlier space history-themed auctions at Bonhams have even included Neil Armstrong's own flight notes taken to the surface of the moon.
Here's just a quick sample of some of the goods for sale—images and descriptions are all courtesy of Bonhams.
Control panel, aluminum and steel painted light blue, with plastic push buttons, glass light panels, digital display. исполнение [execution] button with metal safety switch cover. 16 x 9½ x 7 inches. Mounted to metal display stand.
Provenance: Displayed at the 2000 World's Fair in Hannover, Germany as part of the Russian MIR Toru Control Centre exhibit.
A key piece of hardware from the Mir Space Station. One of three control panels for the TORU docking system on MIR, which consisted of a sensor board, a PU PBS control panel, and this, the PVK Control Panel. Together, these three devices, along with a tv monitor and joysticks, were responsible for the manual docking and undocking of spacecraft attached to the space station. The TORU system was a manually teleoperated rendezvous control system which served as a back-up to the automatic Kurs system. Not only was it used on MIR, but also on Salyut, and the International Space Station (ISS). The system was famously used in the disastrous docking attempt of the Russian unmanned cargo spacecraft Progress M-34, which collided with the MIR space station in 1997. Est $4,000-6,000.
Manufactured by NPP Zvedza, ca. 1988. Est $15,000-20,000
Conducted between 1959 and 1963, Project Mercury aimed to put a human being into orbit around the earth. Millions followed the Mercury flights on the radio and on television, capturing the public's imagination while escalating the space race.
Mercury-era spacesuits were essentially modified versions of the high-altitude pressure suits used by the U.S. Navy at the time. BF Goodrich manufactured the suits using a special fabric created by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M). Green nylon was coated with an aluminized powder, giving the Mercury era suits their iconic silver coloring. Bonhams will offer a beautiful example of a Phase 2 suit, made circa 1960, featuring crucial improvements that allowed for increased freedom of movement. Est. $8,000-12,000.
Metal, aluminum alloy, copper, plastic, and plastic covered wire, front with 67 toggle switches, one with red plastic safety cover, associated circuitry on back of panel. 29 x 17 inches.
Located directly below the pilot's right arm, panel R2 contains controls for engine power, boiler power, hydraulic main pump pressure, Auxiliary Power Unit pre-starts, hydraulic circulating pumps, Auxiliary Power Unit fuel tank valves, and boiler nitrogen supply amongst others. Est $2,000-3,000.
Plastic, resin and metal model, 14 x 11 7 inches, on wooden stand. A very fine, highly detailed and accurate 1:7 scale model manufactured by NPO Lavochkin, complete with Solar panel cover lifted with full stop. The large antenna can change the angle of tilt and rotate around the axis of the base, wheels rotate.
In January 1973, the Soviet Union's Lunokhod-2 moon rover touched down on the Moon at the start of a 4-month mission to explore the geology of the lunar surface. It is still on the Moon, but is no longer owned by Russia. In 1993, hard pressed for cash in the wake of the Soviet collapse and teetering on the brink of closure, the Lavochkin Space Design Company that built the rover auctioned it off at Sotheby's to the American collector Richard Garriott, son of a NASA astronaut who also became a paying guest on the ISS in 2008. Est $10,000-15,000.
All photos: Bonhams