On September 13, a whole host of Soviet space memorabilia is headed to auction in Berlin via the auction house Auctionata, and boy, is it a treasure trove. From Philippe Stark-designed toys to cosmonaut art to commemorative busts of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, there’s something for every astro-junkie. Even if you’re not interested in some $3,310 on Yuri Gagarin’s empty cognac bottle, the collection is a fascinating look into early astronaut history and design.
Early engineers and designers not only had to figure out how to protect fragile human bodies from an incredibly hostile, alien environment, but also how to feed them and take care of their basic needs without overloading or weighing down cramped capsules–all without much precedent, aside from science fiction and a bit of knowledge gleaned from high-altitude aircraft flights.
Some of the results, like a mesh cooling suit that looks like a giant fish net with tubes attached (estimated value: $777), look far from high-tech these days. Others just look positively odd, like the lace-up doggy space suit (estimated value: $10,364) used in the training of Belka and Strelka, two Russian dogs who spent a day in space in the summer of 1960 and became the first living creatures to return from orbit alive. (Their predecessor, Laika, the first living Earthling to make it into orbit, didn’t fare so well.)
And while being an astronaut can look pretty glamorous from Earth, one look at a complicated space toilet from the 1960s (a used one, naturally–estimated value: $1,555) will give you a greater appreciation for the gritty realities of space travel.
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