The idea of phantom cosmonauts,
cosmonauts who flew before Yuri Gagarin but died in space,
so their deaths were covered up by the Soviet Union
is such a fascinating idea.
Unfortunately, they’re not real.
But the story of how we came to think they’re real
is pretty compelling in itself.
The idea of phantom cosmonauts comes from
a very real mystery surrounding the early Soviet space program.
In the 1960s,
missions weren’t announced until they were literally leaving the earth.
And if a mission failed, it would be given a different designation
to hide the fact that was part of an actual program.
Reports that reach the West were often of missing details or were misinterpreted.
So no one really knew the true story.
This all led to a list of names that appeared in the late 1950s
and no one could confirm whether these were cosmonauts who were trained to fly
or cosmonauts who had already died in space,
and thus the mysteries began.
In 1958, reports reached the United States
that a Soviet pilot had flown on a suborbital flight to 186 miles,
which definitely qualifies a space flight.
The report turned out to be false.
It was part of a radio broadcast,
much like the Orson Welles broadcast of War of the Worlds.
It just confused people and made people believe that
story was real when it wasn’t.
But there was some truth in the story.
It turned out that a Soviet pilot had actually flown a suborbital mission.
But remember that a suborbital mission could be like an X-15 flight,
just releasing going up and then coming back down.
But validity to the story came from some pretty trustworthy sources,
specifically Hermann Oberth,
who said that he had heard of the true story
of a Soviet pilot on a suborbital flight,
didn’t say what kind of vehicle it was in,
who had been killed on the mission.
So this opened up the idea that this was the Soviet Union’s first cosmonaut flight
that had failed miserably and they were covering up his death.
Stories took off in 1959 when America met its Mercury astronauts
and started looking for evidence of an equivalent program in the Soviet Union.
Details were far and few between, many coming from unreliable sources.
But gradually, the West learned that the Soviet Union was training a class of cosmonauts.
However, they didn’t really know who they were, or what they were doing, or where they were.
但是 西方并不知道他们是谁 在训练什么 在哪里训练
Nevertheless, a sketchy picture emerged of a Soviet space program
with three World War Ⅱ veterans training as cosmonauts.
They were named Belokonev, Kachur and Grachev.
A fourth cosmonaut, whose name was never known,
was rumored to have been killed in a training accident.
That lost cosmonaut reappeared in the month that followed.
A weekly Russian magazine showed an image of
doctors, technicians and subjects all working on a life-support system.
里面有医生 技师和研究对象 都在研究生命支持系统
There were three men in the image:
the real Belokonev, Kachur and Grachev.
But the absence of the fourth seemed to solidify the existence of a dead man.
Western reports assumed that the image showed real training facilities
and that the men were real cosmonaut trainees,
which added more validity to the stories.
The rumors got another boost in 1961.
On February 4th, the Soviets announced the imminent launch of a 7-ton Sputnik.
Western specialists listened to the launch
and heard it sounded like moaning kind from the spacecraft.
The signal of a human heartbeat
and Russian translated through Morse code.
It all sounded like the man was dying.
And right at the moment when staging should have occurred on the launch,
the heartbeat stopped and the transmission ended.
Was it a lost cosmonaut?
Or was it suspicious that that transmission was done on a frequency
that was very easily accessible to amateur radio operators?
It could have been a trick or it could have been a test of a system.
Nevertheless, it fueled this idea of lost cosmonauts that were being covered up by the Soviet Union.
More phantom launches followed.
On April 9th, the day before Gagarin was originally scheduled to fly,
the British Communist newspaper The Daily Worker reported that
Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Sergeyevich Ilyushin
陆军中校Vladimir Sergeyevich Ilyushin
had launched into orbit on April 7th or 8th, circled the earth 3 times.
But then his spacecraft malfunctioned.
Some technical mishap had brought him back from space deranged.
He was now unfit to show the world,
and was hidden, and his accomplishments swept under the rug.
There was a real illusion,
but he was a pilot who never joined the cosmonaut training program.
Another strange rumor emerged from within the Soviet space program itself.
A severely burned man was brought to the care of Dr. Vladimir Golyakhovsky in March of 1961,
1961年3月 一个严重烧伤的人被带到Vladimir Golyakhovsky医生这里照料
under the name of Sergeyev Ivanov.
He was thought to be maybe a killed cosmonaut,
and he was, sort of.
The man was actually Valentin Bondarenko
who had been killed when a fire broke out in a pure oxygen environment during a test.
As though to add more fuel to the fire of rumors,
Bondarenko’s death was hushed up.
In the 1970s,
images of the Soviet space program from just a decade earlier started to emerge.
That only fueled the rumors more,
because they were all strangely doctored.
They were images showing cosmonauts either in training or on vacation.
And in some images, men seemed to be missing.
They were not phantom cosmonauts.
They were not men who had died in space
and so had to be removed from the history books.
Instead, they were cosmonaut trainees who didn’t behave well.
They had bad reputations and were deemed poor role models for kids growing up,
that their likenesses were removed from images.
The only reason we know that these images have been doctored
was because mission and program managers didn’t remember
which version of the images had been released,
the original, or the one with this guy taken out,
or with that guy taken out.
And eventually, historians got really interested
and started putting together all the images
to figure out who had been taken out, when and why.
尝试破解谁被删除了 在什么时候 原因是什么
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像往常一样 非常感谢你的观看 下次再见
The idea of phantom cosmonauts,