Whole Object Name
Helen Sharman's Spaceflown Signed Yuri Gagarin Autobiography
Road to the Stars
Living and Working in Space
This copy of Yuri Gagarin's autobiography was given to Helen Sharman during her training at Star City, as she trained to become the UK's first astronaut.
It was flown aboard a Progress spacecraft to the Russian Mir space station, a few months before Helen herself made the trip to Mir in 1991 as part of Project Juno. Helen spent a total of eight days in space, carrying out experiments and observing the Earth. On her final day in space, along with her crew mates, she signed this book.
When Tim Peake travelled into space to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015 he asked Helen if he could take anything with him on her behalf. Helen gave Tim this book and he carried it with him into space for its second trip. He stowed it away underneath his seat in his personal allowance aboard the Soyuz spacecraft. At first he was refused permission, as the book was considered a fire risk - but once the Russians found out it was Gagarin's autobiography they allowed it to travel anyway!
Tim's ISS crew mates also added their signatures. Both the Mir and ISS crews chose to leave Gagarin's signature on a page of its own - as it was considered so special.
We have promised to return the book to Helen as and when the next British astronaut travels into space - hopefully to add their signature to what is already an historic British spaceflight object.