Recently I’ve been watching these top 10 and top 15 lists, and some of them led me to some horror stories in the history of our space programs. It’s worth noting because even with Grubbian physics, some of these dangers are still a potential risk for spelljammers. And certainly the legacy of surviving those sorts of risks is something we, as fans of space travellers, should remember. I’ll be posting a series of these over the next few days, so if you have a weak stomach, you may want to avoid this series.
The Judica-Cordiglia brothers were a pair of Italian amateur radio operators who established an enormous antenna and radio station in the 1960s to monitor space program transmissions. They picked up several unexplained and haunting transmissions from both official and unofficial launches; unless, of course, they were hoaxsters. You decide. Here’s a clip detailing some of the information about the persistent theory surrounding the Lost Cosmonauts whose last words they may have discovered. The SOS signal haunts me the most.
Listening closely to the video, you will hear that Vladimir Ilyushin allegedly may have been the first cosmonaut; however, it should be noted that official records say that Ilyushin was a test pilot who was injured in a car accident and went to China for treatment. The brothers have no audio recordings of a mission by Ilyushin even though that’s implied by the progression of the sequence.
One aspect that gives some credibility to the brothers was the fact that they recorded Yuri Gagarin’s historic mission before it was officially announced (which didn’t happen until he had safely returned to Earth). But critics rightfully point out that the Russians did not produce a manned craft that would be able to leave Earth’s atmosphere until 1969. However, this could represent the lack of the brothers’ understanding of space flight or confusion in the language or the style of the writers. A small miscalculation, losing control of the craft, or bouncing off of the atmosphere could send a cosmonaut into a widely elliptical or extended orbit, and while “veering off into deep space” is probably almost impossible, I doubt it would make that much effective difference to a cosmonaut with oxygen enough for three days if the new orbit meant he wouldn’t be returning to Earth for three weeks!