GAGARIN, YURI. (1934-1968). Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to travel into outer space in April 1961. SP. (“Gagarin”). Additionally signed by Soviet cosmonaut PAVEL POPOVICH (1930-2009, “Popovich”) the fourth cosmonaut in space; GHERMAN TITOV (1935-2000, “Titov”), Soviet cosmonaut who, in August 1961, became the first human to orbit the earth multiple times, and Soviet cosmonaut ANDRIYAN NIKOLAYEV (1929-2004, “Nikolayev”), the third Russian in space and the first person to make a televised broadcast from space. 1p. Postcard. N.p., N.d. (Circa 1962-63). In Russian. A black and white photograph of the first four pioneering Soviet astronauts dressed in their military uniforms and standing in front of a wooded backdrop. Signed in ink across the image.
Rare Signed Photograph of the First Four Russian Cosmonauts
Signed by Yuri Gagarin
In the years following World War II, the Cold War pitted the United States and Soviet Union against each other in what was dubbed the “Space Race,” a contest to see which nation could gain technical superiority over the other. The 1957 Soviet victory of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite sent into orbit, was followed by another significant Soviet victory: launching the first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space on April 12, 1961 aboard Vostok 1. The Soviet program had been several years in the making and began with recruiting a group of 200 Soviet Air Force pilots. The group was eventually pared down to a mere six after rigorous trials and training. The program was accelerated with news that the Americans planned to launch a manned flight in January 1961. Ultimately, America’s Mercury flight was delayed several times, allowing the Soviets to launch six Vostok missions during which history was made by Titov (the first person to orbit earth multiple times, spend more than a day in space and make a film of earth from space, aboard Vostok 2), Nikolayev (who set an endurance record for orbiting the earth 64 times over four days, aboard Vostok 3) and Popovich (who commanded Vostok 4, launched while Vostok 3 was still in orbit, the first time two spacecraft were in space at the same time). Less than one month after Gagarin’s historic flight, on May 5, 1961, American astronaut Alan Shepard piloted the first American manned spaceflight when he was launched 116 miles above the earth’s surface aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft.
Extremely fine and uncommon.