Cosmonaut Gennadi Strekalov’s flown blue Penguin-3 exercise suit with communications helmet and lower leg stirrups. The well-padded full-body suit with zip-up front consists of internal elastic elements interconnected by fabric and tape ties with buckles designed to adjust the suit for growth and amount of load; the decorative exterior of the suit features several zippered pockets, woolen cuffs and collar, a Zvezda patch to right chest, a Soviet Union state emblem patch and Cyrillic/English name patch, “Gennadi Strekalov,” to left chest, and a USSR patch to left shoulder. These suits are made individually for each cosmonaut and feature a usage period of 45 days. The leather headset consists of mesh hair netting, hard padded ear guards with internal headset, chin strap and metal clasping, Velcro fitting adjustments, right and left jaw microphone extensions, and a 21.5″ long auxiliary cord with part numbers in Cyrillic and engraved "X 3." The two stirrups consist of padded metal plates with blue felt extensions attached to straps measuring approximately 23″ in length. In overall fine condition, with scattered stains to suit legs and expected wear from use.
The Pingvin exercise suit, more popularly known as the Penguin suit, is a Russian anti-zero-G suit worn during spaceflight that was designed to mimic the effects of gravity on the body, with the objective of counteracting the loss of bone and muscle in weightlessness. The ‘Penguin-3’ helps cosmonauts to stand upright, move properly, give load to the muscles, and even aid and restore speech. In spite of its beneficial attributes, cosmonauts reported the suit to be uncomfortable and prone to overheating.
Strekalov was an engineer, cosmonaut, and administrator at the Russian aerospace firm RSC Energy. He flew into space five times and lived aboard the Salyut-6, Salyut-7, and Mir space stations, amassing a total just shy of 269 days in space. He was decorated twice as Hero of the Soviet Union. A wholly impressive and decidedly rare mission-worn suit from the collection of a legendary cosmonaut.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.