When Galina Balashova designed her first space habitation module for Soviet cosmonauts, she drew a landscape on its interior wall, something that could remind them of home. In a 2015 interview, she said, "When I popped by to commission the final product they asked me where to procure the painting for the wall. When I replied that it was not needed I was reproached: 'No, it’s been signed off and so we will build it exactly that way.' So I sat down one night and painted pictures for the space capsules. Usually watercolors depicting Russian countryside. They all burned to nothing on re-entry." [more inside]
Red Star in Orbit is a three-part BBC documentary about the history of the Soviet space program, originally broadcast in 1990 as part of the ongoing series Horizon. Based on a book by American space historian and NASA vetran James Oberg, who features prominently in the program, Red Star in Orbit was filmed and assembled while the slow collapse of the USSR was already underway. The filmmakers were given an unprecedented amount of access to active Cosmonauts, veterans of the program and to Star City itself. [more inside]
September seemed to be a good month for nu-disco and synthpop DJ mixes. While Cinnamon Chasers, Penguin Prison, Cosmonauts and Mustang all included the name of the month in their releases, Justin Faust probably takes the top spot with his punch, ecstatic The Brisket Biscuit Mixtape, followed very closely by Anoraak's Night Colors Mix. [more inside]
Lost in Space: What really happened to Russia's missing cosmonauts? An incredible tale of space hacking, espionage and death in the lonely reaches of space. "There are those who believe that somewhere in the vast blackness of space, about nine billion miles from the Sun, the first human is about to cross the boundary of our Solar System into interstellar space. His body, perfectly preserved, is frozen at –270 degrees C (–454ºF); his tiny capsule has been silently sailing away from the Earth at 18,000 mph (29,000km/h) for the last 45 years. He is the original lost cosmonaut, whose rocket went up and, instead of coming back down, just kept on going." [Via]
Lost cosmonauts is a site detailing the radio site at Torre Bert, set up by Italian amateurs in 1959 to monitor the beginnings of the space race. The Torre Bert station was regarded as a legitimate tracking station, however they then released recordings of dying cosmonauts which were quickly denounced as exaggerations, or outright conspiracy. In 1991 Pravda admitted that Gagarin was not the first cosmonaut . [more inside]
Phantom Cosmonauts On November 28, 1960, a morse code transmission reading "SOS to the whole world" from an orbiting spaceship was picked up by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers with their home-made radio tracking station in San Maurizio Canavese, Italy. Sometime between February 2-4, they picked up telemetry of a dying cosmonauts heartbeat and breathing. Yuri Gagarin, the universally acknowledged first man in space, did not make his flight until April 12, 1961. These brothers claimed that they intercepted radio transmissions of other secret flights as well. Were there secret Soviet spaceflights that ended in the death of Cosmonauts? Most tend to disagree, and offer an excellent debunking. I started reading about this several weeks before the Columbia, but it now has a new poignancy. I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that these alleged flights took, but the claims of these brothers, mingled with various other rumor and various Soviet urban legends, (along with the fact of Russian/Soviet general secrecy about most everything,) create an alternate history that is exceedingly disturbing.
Pizza delivery sets new altitude record as space station cosmonaut Yuri Usachov receives Pizza Hut order sent via resupply rocket.