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KONSTANTIN EDUARDOVICH TSIOLKOVSKII (1857-1935)
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KONSTANTIN EDUARDOVICH TSIOLKOVSKII (1857-1935)

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KONSTANTIN EDUARDOVICH TSIOLKOVSKII (1857-1935)
A group of 8 works on aeronautics given to Yuri Gagarin by Tsiolkovskii's family. Kaluga: by the author and others, 1915-1932. 8 vols., 8° (c.145 x c.105mm to c.270 x 180mm). Comprising: Kosmicheskie Raketnye Poezda [Space Rocket Trains], 1929. Portrait frontispiece. (Light browning.) Original wrappers (lightly sunned, front hinge split but holding). Includes a biography of Tsiolkovskii by Bezsonov. -- Stratoplan-polureaktivnyi [A Semi-Reactive Stratoplane], 1932. Diagrams. (Light browning.) Original wrappers. -- Soprotivlenie Vozdukha i skoryi Poezd [Air Resistance and the Express Train], 1927. Original printed wrappers (lightly faded). -- Davlenie na ploskost pri ee normal'nom dvizhenii v vozdukhe [Pressure on a Plane Moving Normally Through Air], 1930. (Light browning.) Original printed wrappers (lightly sunned). -- Dopolnitelniia tekhnicheskiia dannyia [Supplementary Technical Details for the Construction of a Metallic Envelope for a Dirigible], 1915. Diagrams. Original wrappers (detached, spine split, slightly faded). -- Tablitsa dirizhablei [Table of Dirigibles of Corrugated Metal], 1915. Diagrams. Original wrappers (detached, slightly faded). -- Gondola metallicheskago dirizhablia [Gondola of a Metal Dirigible and Systems of its Steerage], [1918]. Diagrams. Original wrappers (detached, spine split, edges worn). -- Dirizhabli [Dirigibles], 1931. Original printed wrappers (lightly sunned).

Provenance: Family of Yuri Gagarin (sale, Sotheby's New York, 16 March 1996, lot 2 (part lot); list of works in the hand of Valentina Gagarin).

A COLLECTION OF WORKS BY THE FOUNDER OF MODERN ROCKET THEORY, PRESENTED BY HIS FAMILY TO THE FIRST MAN IN SPACE. Tsiolkovskii, a visionary thinker and autodidact, was among the first to systematically research the possibility of space travel and the use of rockets. He pioneered numerous ideas critical to space exploration, including the multi-stage launch vehicle -- the 'rocket train'. In Space Rocket Trains (1929), Tsiolkovskii demostrates that only a rocket of this type could reach the velocity needed to escape earth's orbit. Tsiolkovskii credits early science fiction for inspiring him: 'the first seeds of the idea were sown by that great fantastic author Jules Verne' (quoted in Darling). Remarkably, for a school-teacher without any resources outside of his meagre salary, Tsiolkovskii conducted his own research. Many of his ideas were first met with disbelief or indifference, and Tsiolkovskii frequently had to publish at his own expense. His first article on rocketry appeared in 1903, and discusses a vessel powered by a combination of liquid oxygen and hydrogen to achieve a speed great enough to escape the Earth's gravitational field. Yuri Gagarin received these pamphlets, all in the original wrappers, from Tsiolkovskii's descendents while visiting their home in Kaluga in the early 1960s after his historic flight. Darling Online Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Spaceflight. (8)
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Please note that this lot is illustrated on page 172 of the printed catalogue. The illustrations on this page relate to lot 148.

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