What's The SD on The "Missing Cosmonauts"?

In the early 1960’s, two Italian brothers (the Judica-Corneglia brothers) built their own spacecraft monitoring radio observatory, and began listening in on Soviet spacecraft launches. Sometime around 1961, they picked up a voice transmission from a Soviet (manned) spacecraft. They recorded the voice of a man/cosmonaut, who appeared to be in a panic-the voice told of a terrible heat in the capsule…and ended in a scream. The brothers concluded that the voice was that of a doomed cosmonaut, who died in the re-entry of a soyuz capsule.
The brothers also recorded the voice of a female cosmonaut, who appears to have died in orbit.
When the old USSR fell, western historians were given access to the soviet archives-was any evidence ever found of these “missing” (and presumed dead cosmonauts?


What WIkipedia has to say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cosmonauts

Long story short, the Soviet Union frequently used recorded or relayed voices to test it’s communication equipment. In the case of supposed failed lunar missions, it’s impossible that the craft in question could have been manned. Furthermore, the original Vostok capsule that was used for early manned missions was also used as the Soviet Union’s first spy satellite (it provided a pressurized temperature controled environment for the camera equipment and a recovery module for film) and so looked exactly like a manned mission conducted in extreme secrecy.

I was about to post on this:

I find it hard to believe that Jodrell Bank would not have picked up any of these if they were real. But then if they were recordings to test the radio, wouldn’t Jodrell have picked them up also? Their sister spoke Russian, so was she the pitiful voice supposedly burning up in the atmosphere?
One arguement against the “Lost cosmonauts” is that since the breakup of the USSR, we would have gotten the records, but what if those were destroyed?

I don’t believe in the Lost Cosmonauts, but based on what little I know about the Soviet space program, it wouldn’t suprise me if they turned out to be true.

One of Robert Heinlein’s books was a travelogue of a trip taken by his wife and him to the USSR. He said that a Soviet citizen proudly mentioned that the country had launched a manned mission, but then no further mention of this trip was made. My copy of that book is in a box in the closet, and I can’t remember the date of this trip, but it would be interesting if it agrees with the Italian brothers.

There can’t be much more space race history hidden away. The likes of the Nedelin disaster (120-150 ground crew killed when a rocket blew up before launch) are well enough known, why hide anything else?

Wikipedia has the date as May 15, 1960


Downward radio communication doesn’t work through reentry.

The Skeptoid podcast (text transcript) episode on this is pretty good.

Let’s attack this another way. Suppose the Soviet did want to destroy all evidence of a failed space launch similar to a burnup on reentry or a capsule going into deep space rather tnah reentry (which did happen to an unmanned capsule when it was facing the wrong way during a burn). With the Soviet history of intimidating citizens, retouching photographs, changing documents, etc. could it be done so that the Lost Cosmonauts are real given the info we have now?

I remember a book from the glasnost era by James Oberg called Uncovering Soviet Disasters, which had a chapter on the “lost” cosmonauts. The author was no fan of the Soviet Union, but his conclusion was that there had been no cover-up of deaths in space. What had been covered up - to the extent of rewriting records and retouching photos - was cosmonauts who had failed training or been removed on disciplinary grounds. Hence the stories about cosmonauts disappearing with no official explanation…

I’m pretty sure that’s how they got to the Planet of the Apes.

One thing that fascinates me is reconciling the many reports that there were no “lost” cosmonauts with the Italian recordings that seem to generally be accepted as not being a hoax. Both cannot be true.

Personally, the recording of the Female Cosmonaut purportedly burning up on re-entry is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard. Recordings like this (and things like numbers stations) are to me like peaking “behind the curtain” of the real world. You really don’t want to know what is going on behind the scenes.

Are they generally accepted as not being a hoax?

Noted space journalist and historian, James Oberg, is regarded as an expert on the Russian space program. Here’s an article he wrote regarding the brothers (warning: pdf)


For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s titled: WHY I DON’T BELIEVE THE CLAIMS OF THE JUDICA-CORDIGLIA BROTHERS :slight_smile:

Actually, seeing as the Soviet government officially stated that Nedelin and his fellow officers had been killed in a plane crash, it’s not as if they weren’t trying to hide space fatalities. Although I agree that it’s highly unlikely that any Soviet-era disasters would remain unhidden by now.

Okay, I’m re-igniting this thread with a link to a 2008 article I came upon. The website I’m on seems a little fishy to me, but I’m not sure:


The gist of the conclusions are that their recordings are probably legit, but not properly interpreted. I’d like it if Cecil re-visited this topic.

The Fortean Times is quite fishy, given the general Fortean propensity to take things at face value instead of applying even a modicum of thought to them.

So how do you say “Get your paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” in Russian?

I have doubts about the “Lost Cosmonauts” recordings, but Fortean Times articles are generally well written and researched. They aren’t your typical UFO/Ghost/Supernatural type magazine articles. This article by Ben Radford about the possible origin of the chupacabra stories in Puerto Rico is a good example.