Russian Cosmonauts

9 Soviet cosmonauts including Yuri Gagarin signed Vostok and Voskhod Space Program team photo

9 Soviet cosmonauts including Yuri Gagarin signed Vostok and Voskhod Space Program team photo


9 Soviet cosmonauts from the Vostok and Voskhod Space Programs signed a black and white period photograph, circa 1965. The cosmonauts, 6 of whom are dressed in Soviet Air Force uniforms, pose in two rows. In very good to near fine condition, with expected light surface wear to glossy photo measuring 6.25" x 4.75."


Signed by (top row, left to right): Gherman Titov (1935-2000), Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968), Valery Bykovsky (born 1934), and Andriyan Nikolayev (1929-2004); and signed by (bottom row, left to right): Pavel Popovitch (1930-2009), Boris Yegorov (1937-1994), rare female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (born 1937), Vladimir Komarov (1927-1967), and Konstantin Feoktistov (1926-2009). Signatures are uniformly bold and dark, inscribed in black felt tip pen in Cyrillic letters along bottom margin.


The Cold War was the backdrop of 1950s space programs developed in the United States and the Soviet Union. The two ideologically opposed juggernauts flexed their muscle in many ways, from the nuclear arms race to the Space Race. The Soviet Union launched its Vostok space program in 1961, conducting six missions -- and achieving many firsts -- during the next two years. Its successor, the Voskhod space program, ran from 1964-1965.


Selection and training of Soviet cosmonauts began in 1959. Its first candidates were male, between 25-30, within specific height and weight parameters, and physically fit. They endured a battery of tests that measured physical and psychological endurance as well as technical skills. Most of the cosmonauts had previously served in the Soviet Air Force. Of more than 200 candidates, 20 were chosen, of which these 9 pictured cosmonauts were some. The Sochi 6, also known as the Vanguard 6, were the best and brightest of this 20-person cohort.


Yuri Gagarin (shown in the top row, second from left) was the first man in space. He manned the Vostok I space capsule on April 12, 1961, making a full orbit around Earth lasting 108 minutes before parachuting into the atmosphere at 23,000 feet. The Americans responded with their own manned orbital space flight 10 months later.

Soviet aeronautics may have been advanced enough to send a man and woman to space, but it was still problematic. Vladimir Komarov (1927-1967) (shown in the bottom row, second from right) died in the April 1967 Soyuz I mission. Yuri Gagarin was killed in a routine training mission at age 34 less than a year later. We thus know that this photograph was taken and signed before Komarov's death in 1967.

A remarkable photograph signed by 9 Soviet cosmonauts from the early days of the space program!


Item: 63896

Price: $5,000.00
 Russian Cosmonauts Russian Cosmonauts
Russian Cosmonauts
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