Washington -A 54-year-old Nasa spacesuit from the Cold War era battle to put the first man into space is expected to fetch $12,000 when it is put up for auction next month.
The silver suit was used during the early days of NASA's Project Mercury flight programme, as the US fought to beat the Soviet Union in the space race. The Phase 2 suit is up for auction as part of the Space History sale at Bonhams, New York, on behalf of a private collector from Texas.
The suit, is made circa 1960, and is expected to fetch between $8,000-$12,000 (£4,800-£7,150). The late 50s-early 60s space suits were essentially slightly modified versions of the US Navy’s pressure suits. Green nylon was coated with an aluminized powder, giving the Mercury era suits their iconic silver colouring. It was manufactured using a special fabric made by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, now known as 3M. ‘The Mercury spacesuit epitomises the earliest days of space exploration, a time when our world was a smaller place,' Cassandra Hatton, Bonhams Senior Specialist in Space History said.
'A direct parallel can be drawn to the time when Columbus first set sail in 149,' she added. ‘No one knew if he would ever make it back, and one could only imagine what he would encounter on the voyage. It was a time of fear and wonder, and the Mercury era was exactly the same. ‘Astronauts were regarded as heroes, doing what we all wished we had the courage to do, and risking their lives for the greater good of mankind. This suit is a symbol of that courage, and an important historic relic.’ In addition to the iconic project Mercury suit, Bonhams will offer a 1980s Russian Strizh spacesuit, expected to fetch $15,000-$20,000 (£9,000-£12,000). Bonhams will offer these and other exceptional spacesuits as part of the Space History sale on April 8 in New York.