Saturday, 28 June 2008

Soviet manned spaceflight artifacts

This intriguing half scale Sokol KV-2 pressure suit is believed to have been made in the mid 1980s. Manufactured by Zvezda and using the same materials as it's larger counterpart many of the components are functional: the visor opens and closes, the pressure valve operates, the zippers are functional and the gloves can be removed. The suit is supported by an articulated armature that allows the piece to displayed in a number of positions or poses. While full scale Sokol KV-2 suits are relatively commonplace the half scale replicas are few and far between. Some auction houses have suggested that these were give to cosmonauts in lieu of their flown suits. Alternately, veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka believes they may have been made as an aerospace exhibit or child's photo opportunity prop.

A pair of full sized Sokol KV-2 pressure gloves worn by cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin. Iwas led to believe that these gloves were flown but cannot verify at this time.

 A classic Sokol communications carrier or headset used in training.

A pair of Soviet "Orlan" EVA gloves of the type currently used aboard the International Space Station.

When I met cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in 2010 I thought it only right and fitting that he - the first man to walk in space -should sign the gloves.

This signed beta cloth patch, from the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission of 1975, was not flown in space but does has the distinction of coming from the personal collection of particpant cosmonaut Valery Kubasov.

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