These are exactly the puzzles that i've lookedi nto for many years,
and they provide amazing insights into what was gonig on BEHIND
the headlines. The stories made some sense in the bad old days
of Soviet coverups and fabrications. Some were plausible, if unproven.
In hindsight i think the evidence shows they didn't happen, but just
'might have', until fuller information access arrived after the blessed collapse
of communism and the USSR.
Here are some links of some of my results:
"As a lifelong 'space nut', as well as a professional 'rocket scientist'
for NASA in Houston, the Gagarin celebration is close to my heart.
I remember the day of the flight, since even though I was
only 16, I had been an enthusiast for space exploration since
BEFORE 'Sputnik'. Since then, I've done spaceflight as a
profession, been a major contributor to 'Astronomy' magazine
(USA) since it was founded in 1974 (and have the January 2011
cover story), and since 2003 have been the NBC News (USA)
space consultant and commentator.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary, I wrote this commentary,
which you are free to link to, or use in any other way you decide:
I am now nearly done preparing a one-hour powerpoint presentation
in honor of the 50th anniversary: "Gagarin and Vostok: The mission,
the machine, the man, and the myths and mysteries." I would be happy
to show you sample slides.
I have my own anniversary to mark on April 12, thirty years after
the day I sat at my console in Mission Control in Houston to help
with the very first space shuttle launch. It too was a great day.
Here are some more links to historical materials I have prepared
over the years to help clarify the Gagarin mission and its world
For many years, I have debunked the widespread myths and fabrications
about 'secret dead cosmonauts' and claims that Gagarin's flight was preceded
by other Russians such as Sergey Ilyushin. Such silly claims linger on, but
my work has helped to diminish their credibility. Here's my original
] and some later
Also, a lecture program: “Cosmonauts and Cosmo-NOTS -- the history of
Soviet space photographic forgeries and the lessons for the future.”
In the early years of the Space Age, the Russians retouched dozens
of photos of their cosmonauts to conceal unflattering information about
accidents, setbacks, and misbehavior -- but Western investigators
(led by me) found original versions of the images and tracked down
what the erased cosmonauts had really done, or had done to them.