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The following article appeared September 19, 2003 in the

 Cosmonaut Suit Odyssey Ends In Museum
A Boca collector loans rare Russian space artifacts for display.

By Tim O'Meilia
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Posted
September 19, 2003

    Spacesuits worn by American astronauts go to the Smithsonian Institution. Used Russian cosmonauts suits, well, what's your bid?

    A rare Russian SOKOL spacesuit worn (during training) for a 1988 Soyuz mission to the MIR space station and a 2 1/2-inch thick window from a duplicate MIR are among the items collector Rick Newman of Boca Raton is lending to the South Florida Science Museum for it's permanent space exhibit.

   The suit, worn by Bulgarian cosmonaut Krasimir Mihailov Stoyanov, will be presented at an 11:am ceremony Saturday at the museum.

    "The Russians have been in space longer than anybody, and they've logged more hours than anybody, and their program inspired our space program," museum Executive Director Jim Rollings said.

    While most American space items are off limits, Russian agencies and companies raise money by peddling historic items and selling space flights to American Multimillionaires. Newman, who would not disclose how much he paid for the suit, said it is one of no more than five in the United States, including one at the Smithsonian.

    "Over the years, I've developed great contacts in Russia," said Newman, who has nurtured a passion for collecting space artifacts since his teen years.

    His firm, High-Tech Productions.com, converts VHS tapes to DVD's for government and industry clients. His sideline is creating high-tech science centers at 15 scout camps and schools in 11 states with items he's acquired.

    "I do it because I can and at no charge," he said. "I loved this stuff when I was a kid, but of course you couldn't get it then."

   The custom-tailored cosmonaut suit has wrist mirrors so the cosmonaut can see beside and beyond him without turning the bulky suit.

    "A spacesuit is like a giant human-shaped balloon." Rollings said. "Seal it and it puffs up with pressure."

    The exhibit also includes authentic Russian space boots and gloves, a Mercury-era American spacesuit, an O-ring from a space shuttle and a replica of an Apollo mission suit, among other things. (All belonging to Newman).

 For more information, contact the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach at (561) 832-1988.

For more information about the science centers, log onto     www.HighTechScience.org or call (561) 750-7000.


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