Rare NASA flight suits sell for pennies at thrift store

Two Florida college students stumble on an incredible piece of NASA space shuttle history at a discount sale.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

And you thought you had a nose for bargains. Two college students discovered a set of NASA flight suits at a thrift store in Titusville, Florida, and paid 20 cents per outfit for the rare finds. WKMG in Orlando shared news of the bonanza on Monday.

Talia Rappa and Skyler Ashworth hit up the blow-out discounts at a Salvation Army thrift shop that was going out of business, and Rappa discovered five blue flight suits and one white suit below a pile of sweaters. The American Space Museum in Florida says the suits are authentic. Names on the uniforms match those of NASA astronauts George Nelson and Robert Parker and payload specialist Charles Walker, all of whom flew on space shuttle missions in the 1980s.

Rappa and Ashworth both have connections to space. Rappa studies astrophysics at the University of Central Florida. Ashworth told WKMG his parents were involved with NASA communications during the shuttle program era and he plans to enter an aerospace program at Eastern Florida State College. 

A tag inside one of the blue suits identifies it as a "launch/entry coverall" made by ILC Space Systems. The Smithsonian Institute says this type of suit was used in the shuttle program from late 1982 to 1986.

You may have missed out on picking up the NASA suits for a killer deal, but you can still own one. The American Space Museum is scheduled to auction the suits off on November 4. You'll just have to pay a lot more for them than Rappa and Ashworth did. The museum estimates they could sell for $5,000 (£3,900, AU$6,400) each.

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