Auction: A pair Soviet film cameras, which were among the first ever to go into space, is on sale. One of the 35mm vintage cameras also captured the first spacewalk in the history of mankind.

Heritage Auctions is selling two Konvas Automat cameras, which were used in Soviet space missions in the early Soviet era, tomorrow (June 2) at their Signature Space Exploration Auction.

The seller is a Soviet camera collector, who wishes to remain anonymous, but spoke to PETaPixel to discuss the cameras.

Pavel Belyaevm, Voskhod-2’s crew commander, was given the first Konvas Automat 1-KCP. He used it to record Alexei Leonov’s 1965 historic spacewalk.

Leonov spent 12 minutes, nine seconds outside the spacecraft on March 18, 1965. He was connected to it by a 16ft cable.

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The Konvas Automat 1-KCP that captured Leonov’s spavewalk.
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Alexei Leonov

Second camera is Konvas Automat 1-KCP reserve camera, which Alexei Leonov, Soyuz-11 reserve crew chief, has been assigned. Soyuz-11 famously, and controversially swapped crews four days prior to the mission when Valery Kubasov, the original crew flight engineer, was positive for tuberculosis.

The second Konvas Automat belonging to the Soyuz-11 crew.
The second Konvas Automat belonging to the Soyuz-11 crew.

A system error caused the deaths of all three members from the new crew. They are the only people who have ever died outside the atmosphere.

Leonov was originally intended to be the primary commander of the mission’s crew, but it was an internal policy to swap three crew members if there were problems with any one.

According to the auctioneers, the Voskhod-2 camera which recorded Leonov’s spacewalk was the first Russian space-flynn camera to be sold at auction.

Gennady Kuprianov, a former Red Army general and First Secretary of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Republic, received the cameras from these space missions. Kuprianov was sent to Gulag in 1950. The estate of Kuprianov sold the cameras to a collector in 1990. After being returned to the USSR, the cameras were loaned to technology and cultural museums in the former Soviet Union. They were then sold again.

A Space Race Age Camera

Vokshod-2 was a major blow to the United States, and Alexei Leonov became a star.

Leonov was the first person who floated in orbit freely and this was during the famous Space Race, when the USSR was trying to become the first country to land on the moon.

Despite his success, Leonov still had problems returning to spacecraft. His suit ballooned and he couldn’t re-enter. To make the suit more flexible, he had to increase the pressure of his suit beyond safety limits.

Leonov was subject to the decompression bends and later claimed that he had sweat so much that his suit was wet.