[VOSTOK 1] GAGARIN, Yuri. [Report of Flight on satellite-spacecraft Vostok 1~ 12 April 1961]. In Russian. Moscow, 15 April 1961. Original typescript signed (["Gagarin"]) , 3 pp., 8o. (11 1/8 X 7 7/8 in.; 283 x 202 mm.), typescript with one correction, on the rectos only of three leaves of laid paper; being Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's original account of the report issued as Records File of the First Space Flight, by USSR Citizen Yuri Alexeyevitch Gagarin, Made on April 12, 1961, on Spaceship-Sputnik "Vostok" Moscow, April, 1961. In contemporary cloth folder with 5 photographs of Gagarin.
THE ORIGINAL ACCOUNT OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS IN HISTORY -- MAN'S FIRST FLIGHT IN SPACE
"ON THE TWELFTH OF APRIL, 1961, A SOVIET SPACECRAFT CALLED 'VOSTOK' WAS PUT INTO ORBIT AROUND THE EARTH; AND I WAS ABOARD."
Prepared for the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in order to officially document the USSR's claim to have successfully launched the world's first manned space flight, the present report would also serve as invaluable propaganda for the Soviet Republic. It is clear from the official tone of the report that it was intended to be seen as a triumph of not just mankind, but of Soviet people in particular. In their enthusiasm to have the momentous event officially certified, the report was not printed and issued, but rather carbon copies of the original typescript signed and submitted as quickly as possible in their modest cloth folders. (This had to be accomplished quickly as in truth the Vostok 1 program had violated FAI rules. Gagarin had parachuted to Earth from his craft rather than landing it as the FAI required. The quicker the certification was obtained the better.)
The report starts with a careful statement of Gargarin's preparation for the flight and both his and colleagues complete confidence in the mission's ulimate success.
"Before the flight I received appropriate training... designed by our scientists. I studied the technology well and was well prepared for spaceflight. The technology, was perfect and very reliable; and neither my colleagues, nor the scientists, engineers, and technicians, nor I myself, ever doubted that the spaceflight would be a success.
Gagarin goes on to discuss in general terms the ease at which he was able to perform under the most unusual conditions imaginable at the time: "...the effect of overloads, vibration, and other stresses had no depressing effects on my condition; and I was able to operate efficiently according to my flight program.
He concludes the chronology of his experience simply, with only a brief mention of the landing site. (In fact there was no landing as such, Gagarin parachuted away from the ship contrary to FAI rules.) "After the ship reached orbit... weightlessness set in. Initially... an unusual sensation... the effect of weightlessness does not affect the body's ability to work or perform physiological functions." "...the command was given to land. The braking engine was activated and the speed was set that was necessary for the ship to land... I was happy to meet our friendly Soviet people on the ground.
It is not until the end that the reader gets a suggestion of the event that must have affected the cosmonaut most profoundly, looking back towards Earth from Space, the sight which he was the first of humankind to enjoy. "I would like to say a few words about the observations I conducted while in space. The Earth from an altitude of 175-327 kilometers can be seen quite well... Large mountain ranges, big rivers, large forest tracts, shorelines, and islands... One can see the shadow of... clouds on the Earth.
THE EARTH HAS A VERY CHARACTERISTIC, VERY BEAUTIFUL BLUE HALO,... a smooth color transition from tender blue, to blue, to dark blue and purple, and then to the completely black color of the sky.
The ship enters the Earth's shadow very quickly. All of a sudden it is dark, and you can see notthing.... The stars can be seen quite well. The emergence from the Earth's shadow is also very sharp and quick.
Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR Major Y. A. Gagarin 15 April 1961."
The present lot is not a carbon, but the original typescript of Gargarin's account of his incredible journey. This original lacks the additional pages of techinical data submitted to the FAI, as the document remained in Soviet archives until 1968 when it was presented to the Gagarin family following his death in a jet training. The still classified technical information was removed before it's presentation.
Given the speed at which the Soviet government wished to submit the event for official recognition and the fact that the submitted report was a carbon typescript, it seems highly unlikely that many copies of this in any were made. It is likely that at least two, but probably no more than 4 carbons were produced from the present lot. One carbon remains with the FAI and another resides in a private collection. A unique document of the utmost historical importance.