It may look like a rusty ball but the Vostok 3KA-2 capsule is part of Soviet space history – and now it is heading home.
With a live dog and a life-sized human dummy on board, the spacecraft orbited the earth in 1961.
A Russian businessman, Evgeny Yurchenko, Chairman of the AS Popov investment fund, has now paid 2.9 million dollars for it in New York. He made his intentions clear in a statement, read aloud at auction by Sotheby’s Vice Chairman David Redden.
“Until now the Vostok 3KA-2 space capsule was the only one of its kind outside of Russia,” he said. “I am thrilled to buy Vostok, which was previously in a private American collection and bring it back to Russia.”
The price, equivalent to 1.9 million euros, reflects its status as the final test craft for Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering first human trip into outer space. It went under the hammer, fittingly, on the 50th anniversary of that historic flight.