GAGARINTHIS FLIGHT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Gagarin"), 1 p, 12 x 8 inches, in Russian, no place, June 27, 1961, to Philipp Alexandrovich, light toning, minor chips.
Gagarin to a fellow pilot, less than three months after his historic flight. He thanks his correspondent for kind wishes, and declares himself unworthy, "a simple Soviet pilot." In part, loosely translated: "A lot is said and written about the flight. I don't have the right to accept everything on my account. I simply appeared as the focus of events which had been prepared for me by the Party, science, and other people. I will soon be preparing for the new flights, and carrying them out. This flight is only the beginning. Flying planes is only the first step towards space flight. Space flight can be carried out only by pilots. I know how difficult it was for our pilots during the war."
He promises to visit Alexandrovich soon, and gives him his address at Chkalovski Airfield, Star City, near Moscow.
A poignant letter, showing the humility of the first man in space, and his awareness of being a symbol. "More than anyone, Gagarin felt the pressure of the propaganda windmill that crushed his dreams for another flight and turned him into a calcified symbol" (Andrews and Siddiqi, Into the Cosmos, 2011, p 95). General Kamanin, Head of Cosmonaut Training, remarked, "Gagarin is still hoping that one day he would fly into space again. It is unlikely that this will ever happen; he is too valuable for humanity to risk his life for an ordinary spaceflight." Nonetheless, Gagarin would die in 1968 doing what he loved bestflying.