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Sotheby’s sells pre-Gagarin spacecraft for $ 2.9 million

NEW YORK, April 13 — The Vostok 3KA-2 space capsule that carried a mannequin and a dog into space as a rehearsal for Yury Gagarin's manned space mission has been sold at a Sotheby's auction for US$ 2,882,500.

The one-lot "space auction" in New York on Tuesday was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight.

The Vostok 3KA-2 spacecraft with the dog, named Zvezdochka (a "small star" in Russian), made a successful orbit of the Earth in about two hours on March 25, 1961, before re-entering the atmosphere. The dog survived the mission.

The aluminum capsule is a twin of the Vostok 3KA-3, which 18 days later took Gagarin on a historic space trip. Gagarin's spacecraft, later renamed Vostok-1, is kept as an exhibit at a space history museum in Korolyov, near Moscow.

Sotheby's said on Tuesday that the space capsule sold in New York was the only surviving Vostok spaceship outside of Russia and "the only one in private hands."

Western media reported later on that the buyer of the Vostok 3KA-2 was Russian businessman Evgeny Yurchenko, who planned to return the capsule to Russia. (PNA/RIA Novosti) DCT/fpv/rsm

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