Two Students Find Rare NASA Flight Suits for Pennies at Florida Thrift Store

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A lesson in the rewards of secondhand shopping.

As the planet is increasingly swathed in textile waste and laboring under the strain of fashion industry pollution, a few of us at TreeHugger keep preaching about resisting the temptation of fast fashion. Two of the best tactics are buying quality garments that will last and/or buying secondhand pieces of clothing. The beauty of secondhand clothing is that it keeps a garment out of the rubbish stream while also preventing the waste and pollution associated with creating a new item.

And then there’s another wonderful perk of shopping secondhand: You might find secret treasures!

This is what happened to Talia Rappa and Skyler Ashworth, two college students who were shopping at a Salvation Army thrift shop that was going out of business in Titusville, Florida. Beneath a pile of sweaters, Rappa stumbled upon a set of six NASA flight suits.

“They were kind of in a weird corner," Rappa told News 6. “He [Skylar] pulled them all out at first, then brought the whole handful over to me.”

“It just blows my mind," Ashworth said, “It [a plastic bin holding the suits] was under two other big totes, I moved them off to the side and I’m digging through a whole bunch of sweaters and stuff, and I found the white one with the patch just kind of laying there.”

NASA suits

News 6/Video screen capture

The five blue NASA flight suits, along with a white “control suit,” were priced at 20 cents each.

Experts at the American Space Museum say that the astronauts' names and flight dates on the labels indicate they belonged to astronauts George “Pinky” Nelson, Robert A. Parker, and Charles D. Walker; they date from the early 1980s.

The lucky hunters plan to sell the suits at a special auction conducted by the American Space Museum, tentatively set for November 4. The museum says they could bring in $5,000 each ... or even more. Some of the proceeds will be donated to the museum, while the rest will go towards the pair's college tuition.

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for two college kids shopping for secondhand clothes.

News 6 reports on the story below.