Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Yuri Gagarin Autograph Letter Signed Requesting Return to Flight Training, to Colonel General Nikolai P. Kamanin. One page, 8" x 11", December 2, 1967. In this letter, Gagarin writes of his "Return to Flight Status." Also included is the approval order signed by Cosmonaut Commander N. P. Kuznetsov.

    Gagarin's handwritten official "Return to Flight Status Request" to his military commander is in Russian with an English translation. In this letter Gagarin requests permission to take time off to finish his thesis for his degree and study for the final exams. More importantly, he demands a return to flight training which, when granted, led to his death in March of 1968. Very fine condition. Gagarin's letter reads in full:

    "To: Commander of the Military Unit 26266, Major General of Aviation, Comrade N. F. Kuznetsov
    I hereby petition for your support before the senior command to release me from the responsibilities of the Deputy Commander of the Military Unit 26266 on flying-space training until the 1st of May 1968.
    The indicated time is necessary for passing the last examination session in the Academy named after Professor Zhukovsky as well as for working at my graduation paper and its defense. The present situation does not allow me to do it while I fulfill my official responsibilities. I consider it morally impossible to occupy the position of the Deputy Commander of the military unit on flight-space training and to control flight training of the personnel under my command without having the opportunity to make flights myself.
    [signed] Colonel Gagarin 2.12.67."

    The second letter is typed in Russian with an English translation and is signed by Major General Kuznetsov, the commander of the military unit. This letter grants Gagarin's request concerning the above request to return to flight training and take some time off of his duties as commander of cosmonaut training to finish his thesis for his degree. "Agreed" is written by Coronal General Nikolai Kamanin, the head of the Cosmonaut Corps, dated December 8, 1967. "I report on the request of Y. A. Gagarin dated Dec. 2, 1967... In connection with the present situation, I find it expedient to provide Colonel Gagarin with the time needed for completing his education in the academy named after Professor Zhukovsky. The flight on a combat plane and further training flights though must be put off until spring-summer period of 1968 - the time of the most favorable meteorological conditions. Major General of Aviation, Kuznetsov." This granting of Gagarin's request in this letter with its almost clairvoyant phrase sealed the fate of Gagarin. Very fine condition.

    Kamanin was head of the Soviet space program and one of the most famous pilots in Soviet aviation history. He was the first military hero of the Soviet Union and holder of the hero gold star #4. He also became a greatly decorated World War II hero and, because of this, was assigned command of the first Cosmonaut Corps for the Soviet Union.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    3rd Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,290

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 June 7 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $936,556