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  Collecting Russian Orlan spacesuit gloves

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Author Topic:   Collecting Russian Orlan spacesuit gloves
holcombeyates
Member

Posts: 160
From: UK
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 01-10-2017 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for holcombeyates   Click Here to Email holcombeyates     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have seen Orlan gloves come to market - and have always liked the idea of picking up something from the Russian program.

Are there any aspects of purchasing flown Russian EVA hardware to be aware of?

neo1022
Member

Posts: 238
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 01-10-2017 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The two biggest issues I see are: 1) the number of anomalous gloves on the market (particularly on eBay; and 2) the number of gloves that are sold as "flown" (even with a signature and mission inscribed on the glove).

On the first point: Lot of gloves show anomalous qualities — wrong pad/fingertip color for the model of glove and date, odd color hardware, etc. I call these "Frankenstein" gloves—clearly made with real glove parts, but combined in a random manner. Related to this is a comment from a trusted source in the Russian space community that workers at Zvezda routinely manufactured "accurate" gloves using authentic parts exclusively for sale to the tourist market. These gloves are "authentic" inasmuch as they look right and were made in the Zvezda factory, but they were never intended for use in the Russian space program. These are much tougher to identify, or course. As long as they are "correct" they would make a nice addition to a collection, but I'd opt for something with an actual use history.

On the second point: Orlan gloves are large and heavy (compared to Sokols), and most were left on the Mir/ISS along with the suit itself. How is it possible, then, that so many "flown" Orlans are floating around out there? Given this, I would assume that any glove lacking Mir/ISS handstamps is not flown, regardless of other documentation provided. There has been a long tradition of "cancelling" flown objects with these hand stamps, which at least in theory, exist only on the Mir/ISS itself (and thus can't be fabricated). That said, I heard rumors that at least one Mir stamp had been brought back, so again, caveat emptor.

Russian materials are inherently harder to vet than US materials. As for myself, unless I obtain the item directly from the certifying cosmonaut (with appropriate photo and written documentation), I assume it was not flown.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 4026
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-10-2017 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Establishing provenance/authenticity is definitely dicey and the reason I (mostly) vacated acquisition of Soviet/Russian hardware. Take a look too for wrist serial numbers and you will note some gloves omit them, while others are crossed off/obfuscated. Between forged, stolen, replicas and partially authentic material, navigation of Russian space artifacts is a daunting challenge.

Philip
Member

Posts: 5624
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 10-31-2017 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Each Orlan (and Sokol) pair have unique serial numbers. More difficult for the Sokol, but high resolution NASA photos of an EVA/spacewalk sometimes clearly show this unique serial number!

As ne1022 already stated, Mir and ISS mission stamps are required to show a glove was flown, although not every cosmonaut took the time to do so... so an onboard photo showing the serial is your best bet.

All times are CT (US)

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