Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ground Control to Major Tom

Fortean Times has a fascinating article about two Italian radio enthusiasts who may have recorded the deaths of some early Russian cosmonauts. Go read Lost in Space:
There are those who believe that somewhere in the vast blackness of space, about nine billion miles from the Sun, the first human is about to cross the boundary of our Solar System into interstellar space. His body, perfectly preserved, is frozen at –270 degrees C (–454ºF); his tiny capsule has been silently sailing away from the Earth at 18,000 mph (29,000km/h) for the last 45 years. He is the original lost cosmonaut, whose rocket went up and, instead of coming back down, just kept on going.

It is the ultimate in Cold War legends: that at the dawn of the Space Age, in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, the Soviet Union had two space programmes, one a public programme, the other a ‘black’ one, in which far more daring and sometimes downright suicidal missions were attempted. It was assumed that Russia’s Black Ops, if they existed at all, would remain secret forever.

The ‘Lost Cosmonauts’ debate has been reawakened thanks to a new investigation into the efforts of two ingenious, radio-mad young Italian brothers who, starting in 1957, hacked into both Russia’s and NASA’s space programmes – so effect­ively that the Russians, it seems, may have wanted them dead.
There is still a lot of speculation, but it is fascinating, nonetheless.


  1. Just wait till the greys thaw out that ruskie in 10,000 years..

  2. I actually remember reading about them in Reader's Digest when I was a kid, back in the early sixties.
    Of course, I also remember when Sputnik went up, which shows how old I am.