Climb Into Your Very Own Space Pod
Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction in the North End, was disappointed that he couldn’t find a place near his office to set down a nine-foot-tall space pod that he’s putting up for bid online this week.
“Let’s just say my neighbors weren’t too keen on having a two-and-a-half ton capsule sitting in their parking lots,” said Livingston, adding that if he found a permit parking spot on the narrow, winding streets of the North End, he would have risked getting a ticket. “It would have been worth it for sure.”
What would have been an out-of-this-world sight for passersby in the historic neighborhood will likely become a keepsake for one lucky bidder, when the large metal pod, an original Gemini Boilerplate Capsule used during the early stages of the Mercury Project, the U.S.’s first human spaceflight program, goes up for sale starting at $10,000 on Friday.
“You just can’t get one of these, and it’s a tourist attraction most definitely,” said Livingston. “We have institutions that are already interested in it. They will probably display it at their space museum [if they win].”
The capsule will likely be delivered to Boston Thursday, he said.
Originally used to “test various load and handling characteristics” encountered during a mission, the boilerplate is one of hundreds of space-themed artifacts that RR Auction is offering up to collectors.
To kick off the online auction, Livingston said the company is holding a live bidding session at their headquarters in Boston Thursday afternoon, and offering up the first-ever Hasselblad Camera to be used in outer space. Astronaut Wally Schirra took the 500c camera, which could fetch up to $1 million, into orbit, during a mission on the Mercury-Atlas 8.
When asked if the space auction was timed for the celebration of the historic landing of a spacecraft on the face of a fast-moving comet working its way through space, Livingston said it was a mere coincidence that will probably help the items get scooped up fast.
“I work real hard to get publicity, and this machine lands on the comet and upstages me!,” said Livingston. “Rightfully so, though. It’s an incredible coincidence that the satellite landed on the comet at the very moment we are selling items involved in man’s initial exploration in space. We are pleased about that.”
Other items on the auction block, which can be purchased exclusively online, include a Soviet spacesuit, lunar-surface used materials, controllers for space equipment, joysticks from a commander’s chair, and “other cool items.”