Weird Crap in Mike’s Place #3

Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Fun | 1 comment

Weird Crap in Mike’s Place #3

And now the second installment in the new craze that’s sweeping the nation: Weird Crap in Mike’s Place!

I received a package last week that had two items in it that I strongly suspected had never, ever, shared the same shipping container.

One of my hobbies is collecting space and aviation memorabilia. This goes well beyond models and a few pictures, and include flown hardware and rare documents. The holy grail of both Aviation and Space came up for auction a few weeks ago: A fragment from the original 1903 Wright Flyer and a piece of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1 spacecraft. In other words, touchstones from man’s first airplane and man’s first spacecraft.

Vostok 1 Interior

About 12 years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Energia Museum in Korolov City (their version of “Houston”). Korolov is where Russian Mission Control is located near to the museum that is their equivalent to the Smithsonian Air&Space museum. Tucked away in one unassuming corner is the Vostok 1 along with Gagarin’s orange suit (orange made the cosmonaut more visible to the recovery teams). I was tempted to sneak around behind and scrape a bit of the burned exterior off, but not tempted quite enough thank goodness. (Although I did something like that in my misspent youth when our family went back to Florida for Apollo 17’s launch.) Elsewhere in the hall are a flown Soyuz I could sit in, a Sputnik backup, a Salyut space station trainer and many other items telling much of the Soviet’s early space stories.

In the Vostok, placed for all to see, was what could best be described as actual Certificate of Authenticity. Thank goodness! I was afraid they may have picked up one of those cheap Asian Vostok knockoffs that flooded the world’s market years ago.

Now both of these artifacts will take their position next to my other gems, some of which will be shown in future “Weird Crap” columns. I need more wall space.