Ghost cosmonauts of the USSR
Officially, on April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin, having made
a revolution around the Earth on the Vostok spacecraft, opened
a new era in the history of mankind. Man paved the way into
space. But researchers suggest that before Gagarin USSR had
already flown into space. These were the so-called zero astronauts.
However, all the launches ended unsuccessfully, so the Soviet
leadership, for reasons of prestige, classified the fact of the
launches and the identity of the "zero cosmonauts". Almost nothing
is known about them, so they are called ghost astronauts, since
there is no exact mention of them in any archive.
For the first time, these astronauts learned about in 1959, thanks
to the Italian news agency Continentale. The source of the
information was an unnamed Czechoslovak communist, who told
the correspondent that the USSR had already launched a man into
space several times, but each launch ended in disaster.
The publication reported details. The names of the deceased
cosmonauts and even the circumstances of their death were named.
The first - Alexei Ledovsky died during the launch of a manned
ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar test site on November 1,
1957. On February 1, 1958, Sergei Shiborin was killed. January 1,
1959 - Andrey Mitkov. All of them died while trying to make a
manned suborbital flight. The fourth victim was Maria Gromova,
who crashed when launching an orbital plane with a rocket engine.
Information also appeared in the Russian media for the 40th
anniversary of Gagarin's flight. Mikhail Rudenko from OKB-46
confirmed the fact of three suborbital flights, which ended
In the fall of 1960, the details were reported by the American
press. The USSR made two unsuccessful launches of man into
space at once: in September, a spacecraft with cosmonaut Ivan Kachur
exploded at the start, and in October a spacecraft exploded in orbit
with cosmonaut Pyotr Dolgov on board.
A little later, the information was found by the Italian brothers
Yudica-Cordilla. Two radio amateurs intercepted and recorded the
communications of the Soviet cosmonauts with the control center. In
February 1960, Gennady Mikhailov's ship was carried off into open
space. In November of the same year, a similar fate befell the ship
of Alexei Grachev, who was lost in space after leaving orbit. It was
also reported about the death of the woman-cosmonaut Lyudmila
and three more cosmonauts, led by Alexei Belokonev, suffocated
due to the depressurization of the spacecraft.
The media claimed that cosmonaut Ivan Kachur died in an explosion
during the launch in September 1960. Cosmonaut Dolgov died from
an unsuccessful launch of a spacecraft to Mars. Mikhailov became
a "victim" of the unsuccessful launch of the station to Venus. In
April 1961, the English publication Daily Worker reported
sensational news: the USSR launched a man into space, that was
Vladimir Ilyushin, the son of the famous Soviet aircraft designer
who created the IL aircraft.
It is assumed that Ilyushin made the first flight in the "Vostok" in
April 1960, but the trajectory of his landing was calculated
incorrectly - and he fell on the territory of China. The astronaut
was badly injured on landing and was captured by the Chinese,
who mistook him for a spy and arrested him. A few months later,
the Soviet leadership managed to get the Chinese to return the
cosmonaut, but the story took such a turn that they decided to
keep Ilyushin secret, and to appoint Yuri Gagarin as the cosmonaut,
who had never actually been in space. As a confirmation of this
version, the fact is indicated that Ilyushin was received on
crutches in the Kremlin and was awarded the Star of the Hero
of the Soviet Union.
Nevertheless, the desire to overtake the Americans was great, so
it was decided to take the risk and send Yuri Gagarin to the moon
in early March 1968 on the probe "Zond-4". On March 2, the
launch of the apparatus under the control of Gagarin took place,
however, due to a malfunction in the navigation system, the ship
flew not to the moon, but in the other direction. On returning to
Earth, the ship also went astray and made an unsuccessful landing
in the Gulf of Guinea. Gagarin died on March 9. All people who
saw him between March 9 and March 27, in fact, saw a specially
selected double to hide the unsuccessful flight to the moon. And
so that the deception was not revealed, on March 27, the death
of Gagarin in a plane crash was staged. The wreckage of Gagarin's
plane is still classified.