Yuri Gagarin. The first man in space. Or was he?
During the 1950s and 60s, following the Cold war, there was a battle between the West (US) and the East (USSR) to establish leadership in space exploration. With the launch of Sputnik I in 1957, the USSR gave a blow to US. Pretty soon, in 1961, when they put the "first man in space" they surged even ahead of US. But there has been some speculation that Yuri wasn't really the first person to be out there. Who was it then? If its true, why hasn't the first person shown himself up? Why would USSR pose someone else as the first when s/he wasn't? After all, space tourism wasn't famous until Dennis Tito.
It turns out that, between 1957 and 1961, USSR had not been quite as they might have seemed. In 1960, two Italian brothers Achille and Giovanni Battista Judica-Cordiglia and their team using a home made satellite dish were 'listening' to signals from passing satellites etc and they recorded some astonishing messages. On November 28th, to be precise, they got a signal which read in Morse code "SOS to the entire world". They got this signal thrice. A few days later, the Russians only admitted that there was failed launch but said nothing about the SOS from space. In early February, there were sounds of a "wildly beating human heart" and "laboured breathing"! And then a few more days later, a female voice saying "Conditions growing worse; why don't you answer? . . . we are going slower . . . the world will never know about us.", Russian. There is even a recording of these available online at http://www.lostcosmonauts.com/ but its in Italian. Russia back then denied all such reports. They even went to the extent of removing any evidence of people who were 'lost' in space. The Italian brothers also suggested that the signals appeared to move away from the Earth; that is the spacecraft was deliberately made to escape gravity!
The Straight Dope, states that there's a lot more that Russia has wrapped up regarding their space programs. Although, most of the deaths relating to cosmonauts were proven not unusual the Russian space people did take some enormous risks with their lifes.
I wonder why the US didn't hype this up and put it all over the Internet. Especially, while there was so much FUD about their Apollo 11 moon mission!
7 months ago