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1971 Russian commemorative envelope signed by the three early cosmonauts. Extremely rare!
Commemorative Envelope signed: "Beregovoi", "Sevastyanov" and "Nikolayev" all in Russian, 6½x4½. Pictorially postmarked in Russian circa 1971. GEORGY BEREGOVOY (1921-1995) was the pilot of Soyuz 3, launched on Oct. 26, 1968. He orbited the Earth 64 times and came within 650 feet of the unmanned Soyuz 2. ANDRIAN NIKOLAYEV (1929-2004) took part in the U.S.S.R.'s first dual launch, which took place on August 11-12, 1962. Vostok 3, with Nikolayev aboard, and Vostok 4, manned by Pavel Popovich, came within three miles of each other during the first orbit of Vostok 4. Vostok 3 completed 64 orbits in 94 hours, 24 minutes, while Vostok 4 made 48 orbits in 70 hours, 57 minutes. Nikolayev later flew aboard the 17 day, 16 hour and 59 minute flight of Soyuz 9, launched on June 19, 1970. VITALY SEVASTYANOV (1935-2010), who flew aboard Souyuz 9 with Nikolayev, was the Flight Engineer on Soyuz 18, which was launched on May 24, 1975 and returned to Earth on July 26, 1975. He later led the Soviet fundraising effort to save the Russian space station Mir. Autographs of the early Soviet cosmonauts are quite scarce, and highly sought-after. Beregovoi's signature written over stamp. Cancellation touches Nikolayev's signature. Envelope is somewhat soiled. Lightly rippled at upper right margin near stamps. Rubber stamped address of Romanian collector at lower right margin. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: April 15, 1921 in Poltava Oblast, Soviet Union
Died: June 30, 1995 in Moscow, Russia

Georgy Timofeyevich Beregovoy (April 15, 1921 – June 30, 1995) was a Soviet cosmonaut who commanded the space mission Soyuz 3 in 1968. At the time of his flight, Beregovoy was 47 years of age: he was the earliest-born human to go to orbit, being born three months and three days earlier than the second earliest-born man in orbit – John Glenn, but later than X-15 pilot Joe Walker who made 2 (or 3, according to USAF definition) suborbital space flights.

Beregovoy was born on April 15, 1921, in Fedorivka, Poltava Oblast, Soviet Union (now Ukraine). He graduated from a school in 1938 at Yenakieve, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. He joined the Soviet Air Forces (VVS) in 1941, and was soon assigned to a ground-attack unit flying the Ilyushin Il-2 "Shturmovik". He flew some 185 combat sorties during the course of World War II and rose quickly through the ranks, finishing the war as a captain and squadron commander.
Following the war, he became a test pilot, and over the next sixteen years test-flew some sixty different aircraft, rising to the rank of colonel and the position of deputy chief of the air force's flight-testing department. In 1962, he applied and was accepted for cosmonaut training.
In 1965, Colonel Beregovoy was scheduled to fly the following year in Voskhod 3, but the mission was never launched.
On October 25, 1968, Beregovoy took the Soyuz 3 into outer space: he orbited the Earth for almost four days at altitude up to 252 km. As part of his mission, Beregovoy twice maneuvered his craft into rendezvous positions with the unmanned Soyuz 2 satellite but was unable to establish a direct physical link to the craft before returning on October 30, 1968.
Nonetheless, Beregovoy's flight was in some ways an encouraging success for the Soviet manned space program, and the colonel was celebrated as a hero upon his return. Soyuz 3 was Beregovoy's only spaceflight and soon after it he retired from active duty, having been promoted to Major General.

Born: September 5, 1929 in Shorshely, Chuvashia, Russia
Died: July 3, 2004 in Cheboksary, Chuvashia, Russia

Andriyan Grigoryevich Nikolayev (5 September 1929 – 3 July 2004) was a Soviet cosmonaut. He was an ethnic Chuvash.

Nikolayev flew on two space flights: Vostok 3 (effectively becoming the third Soviet cosmonaut) and Soyuz 9. His call sign in these flights was Falcon. On both, he set new endurance records for the longest time a human being had remained in orbit. He also served as backup for the Vostok 2 and Soyuz 8 missions. On 22 January 1969, Nikolayev survived an assassination attempt on Leonid Brezhnev, undertaken by a Soviet Army deserter, Viktor Ilyin. He left the cosmonaut corps on 26 January 1982.
Nikolayev was also the first person to make a television broadcast from space, in August 1962. Vostok 3 was part the first dual space flight, with Pavel Popovich on Vostok 4.
In the early days of space travel, it was usual to place trainee astronauts into isolation chambers to see how long they could last alone. They sat in silence unable to gauge time. Many men cracked. One cosmonaut, Andriyan Nikolayev lasted the longest - four days - and became known as the Iron Man.
On 3 November 1963, he married Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to fly in space. They had one daughter, Elena Andriyanovna (now a Doctor of Medicine), before their marriage collapsed. However, it was not until 1982 that they divorced.
In 2004, Nikolayev died of a heart attack in Cheboksary, the capital of Chuvashia in Russia.

Born: July 8, 1935 in Krasnouralsk, Soviet Union
Died: April 5, 2010 in Moscow, Russia

Vitaly Ivanovich Sevastyanov (8 July 1935, Krasnouralsk, USSR – 5 April 2010) was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on the Soyuz 9 and Soyuz 18 missions.
He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Aviation Institute and after graduation in 1959, joined Sergey Korolev's design bureau, where he worked on the design of the Vostok spacecraft. He also lectured at the Cosmonaut Training Centre, teaching the physics of spaceflight. In 1967 he commenced cosmonaut training himself. Between 15-24th September 1972 Vitaly Sevastyanov visited Zagreb, Jugoslavia.
After two successful missions, including a two-month stay on the Salyut 4 space station, he was pulled from active flight status in 1976. He worked in ground control for the Salyut 6 station before returning to spacecraft design in the 1980s to work on the Buran project.
He was president of the Soviet Union Chess Federation from 1977 to 1986 and from 1988 to 1989.
During the 1980s he was the host of a popular television program on space exploration entitled Man, Earth, Universe.
In 1993, he left the space programme and was elected to the State Duma in 1994.

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