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Soviet space tragedy cover-up?

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posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 01:28 AM
I have a strange story to tell:

Many years ago when I was in high school, I had a science teacher who claimed to have worked for NASA during the Apollo project. On occasion, a discussion would start up in our class about the moon missions, and the fact that the Soviets never landed a man on the moon. However, I distinctly remember that - on more than one occasion - he claimed that the Soviets had sent a spacecraft around the moon on a free-return trajectory.

Our teacher went on to say that the spacecraft made some kind of error in navigation and the astronauts "missed the earth and went into orbit around the sun forever". He explained that although the Soviet government denied the disaster and covered it all up, NASA was fully aware of it and had even listened in on the conversations between Soviet mission control and the doomed crew.

Of course, this is contradictory to what's in the history books, and I've never heard any mention of such a mission anywhere else. I've been looking for some kind of verification - or at least rumors - of this horrific incident, and have come up empty.

Of course it's possible that he may have been mistakenly referring to the Soyuz 11 tragedy in which the crew died from depressurization, but that's not what he said. Again, he specifically stated that a crew was lost after going around the moon.

Has anyone else ever heard this story before?

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 01:34 AM
I heard that too growing up. The story for me was that they made it to the moon after we did. A friend of mine confirmed the fallacy as truth. Then we discussed time-slips or whatever they are called.

Nothing about a tragedy though, unless I wasn't listening too intently in class, har-har!

But, seriously, I have heard a fragment of that story as truth spoken by my teachers in grade school.

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 01:38 AM
The problem with this theory is that the Soviets and now Russians space program has never been known to be as open about their program as NASA once was so you may never find out unless you can find some odd deaths related to their space program that just seem a little odd and they used that as a cover for the lost cosmonauts

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 01:51 AM
One of the heads of their space program at the time kept a diary about their program. It has some interesting mysteries in it.

Mystery #1- Kamanin had gone to almost every party meeting concerning the program since the early 1960s. He hadn't taken a vacation and was working at least 6 days a week getting them ready to go to the moon. They were trying to launch a rocket in their L-1 program to get a cosmonaut around the moon before Apollo 8 did. Their last window too launch was December 8-12 1968. On November 29, there was a note in his diary that there was a very important commission meeting that was going to consider changes to the program. He would be unable to attend because he was going to a reunion of his WWII regiment in the Far East.

Mystery #2- The Soviet Union was going to launch an N1 rocket with a Luna YE-8-5 robot lander to bring soil back before Apollo 11. The diary entries stop suddenly on July 7, 1969 and begin again on August 20, 1969. The explanation in the diary is that he suddenly took a 40 day vacation.

There are many other oddities that were found but those are two of the bigger ones.

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:33 AM
Typical for communist leadership was to hide failures. They even hid natural catastrophes or any other kind of failure which would "prove" that socialist system is not perfect

[edit on 8-3-2009 by DangerDeath]

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 01:51 PM
Well this theory seems a little bit strange though. Soviets did cover up all the catastrophes, but that doesn't change the fact that their rocket just wasn't working. N-1 was far from commissioning when the Apollo-11 landed. They had some serious disasters and although the soyuz and the lunar lander proved great in earth-orbit tests, the moon-rocket program failed. After Korolyov's death other engineers tried to finish his work, but weren't successful. The cosmonauts also sent a letter to party leadership to get permission for a moon mission to beat the americans, but didn't get it (it's said so in BBC's space race series).

So the N-1 really had no successful flight and I don't see any option of getting a man in moon orbit with other soviet rockets (like the R-7) they had at the time.

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 02:01 PM
I hope that it is wrong, but i fear that it is true. Soviet system is known (as others mentioned before me) for hiding tragic accidents (as they tried to do with Chernobyl for example) and for high-level bureaucrats trying to push things by force disregarding warnings of professionals. Together it is just recipe for disasters.
Not that other systems are disaster-free, but there is much less chance of it.

posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by sovietman

Their plan was to launch an unmanned capsule on the N-1 and then a manned capsule with three cosmonauts onboard on a more reliable rocket. They would switch two of them over to the unmanned capsule in orbit, and then do the burn towards the moon from there.

posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 06:00 AM
reply to post by sovietman

interesting plan indeed, but the problem is that the n-1 really had no successful launch. it was infact far from one. it was just too hard to get it's 30 engines work simultaneous, especially with so little money. The von Braun's saturn V had only 5 engines (big ones), and they were easier to control, although more expensive...

posted on Mar, 15 2009 @ 05:03 AM
A lot of the Soviet Space Tragity info comes from the Judica-Cordiglia brothers who claim to have intercepted radio broadcasts from the Soviet capsules.

Info at - (the button to convert to English wouldnt work for me)

posted on Mar, 15 2009 @ 07:01 AM
While the official history of the Soviet Space program does not include information about the sort of mission Flatwoods describes, the mission described bears a resemblance to two different series of Soviet space missions...

During the mid-1960s the Soviets sent a series of 4 missions designated Zond (probe in Russian) 1-3 - a failed 1964 mission of the same type did not receive an official designation, a common (and sometimes confusing) practice of the Soviet space program - to explore the moon, Venus, and Mars. The last of these, Zond 3, flew past the moon and entered a heliocentric orbit, i.e. it "circled the sun forever". Zond 3 did this by design and continued in its original planetary science mission.

The Soviets also sent a series of missions on free-return trajectories around the moon during the late 1960s and into 1970. These missions were also designated Zond missions and continued numerically from where the previous Zond series had left off. These missions were intended to travel to the moon on free-return trajectories using modified Soyuz capsules called Soyuz 7K-L1. The 7K-L1 differed from the then-standard Soyuz in many ways, most notably in that their orbital module was deleted from the configuration to save weight and that they launched using the then relatively new Proton rocket.

The 7K-L1 Soyuz were unmanned, but seem to have been fully capable of supporting a crew - biological samples, including turtles, were flown on Zond 5. However, while the Proton is now a workhorse of the Russian space program, back in the 1960s it was temperamental at best; several Zond missions suffered first or second stage failures (and were thus not officially labeled Zond missions), there were issues reliably landing the capsule within Soviet territory, etc. In any case, by the time the Zond 8 capsule had been recovered - in October of 1970 - NASA had already conducted Apollos 11, 12, and 13, beating the Soviets to the moon and demonstrating how hazardous a manned lunar mission could be. The Zond program was canceled.

It seems possible that Flatwoods' science teacher was aware of the Zond missions - including Zond 3, which did go into a heliocentric orbit, and the second Zond series, which was capable of being manned but never was. It would be reasonable to speculate that the teacher either mish-mashed details of the missions, detailing an attempted lunar mission going horribly wrong, or reported to Flatwoods and his classmates what he believed to be the truth, but ultimately was shown to be untrue - possible, given the questionable veracity of the information available in the West about Soviet space activities in the 1960s and 1970s.

posted on Mar, 19 2009 @ 11:34 PM
reply to post by PhloydPhan

Thanks for the info, PhloydPhan. Your Zond explanation is the best theory I've heard yet as to why my teacher made this claim. Perhaps he was confusing the unmanned missions with the manned ones. Perhaps.

That being said, it raises an interesting possibility that the Soviets could have sent humans to the moon using a Proton rocket. As previously stated, my teacher didn't say the Soviets had landed on the moon, only that they'd passed around it on a free-return trajectory. They wouldn't have needed an N-1 rocket for that, just a capsule with enough supplies to last for several days. I believe the Soviets would have been willing to attempt it, at least before 1969, in order to be the first.

[edit on 19-3-2009 by Flatwoods]

posted on Mar, 19 2009 @ 11:45 PM
reply to post by PhloydPhan

What I find interesting are the diary gaps. Do you really think that someone that went to every single party meeting for so many years, and worked 6 day weeks, would skip a meeting to go to a reunion of his WWII unit? Or that he would go on a 40 day vacation at such an important point in the program?

posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 06:40 AM
Enjoyed reading the following and hope that might end at least the question of whether the Russians were trying or not. As evident by al their other 'firsts' ( funnily the moon landing/orbit is just about the only firsts the US managed in Space) this might not come as much of a surprise.


posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 04:54 PM
The diary entries - and the gaps - are fascinating. I don't buy either of the official explanations for Kamanin's absences from work, but I don't think that any reliable conclusions can be drawn from the gaps, either. Hypothesizing about the reasons for Kamanin's diary gaps would be engaging in idle speculation.

Hmmm. Sounds like fun...

It is reasonable, in my opinion, to assume that the gap after November 1968 is related to the Apollo 8 circumlunar mission - and whether or not the Soviet Union would be able to beat Apollo 8 around the moon. Per the article The Real Moon Landing Hoax article StellarX linked to earlier:

Studying declassified Corona spy satellite photographs,Vick is able to show that there was substantial unexplained activity at the Baikonur cosmodrome during December 1968. Although no photographs exist during the 8-12 December launch window, images made during a pass on 15 December show a Soyuz spacecraft / booster combination mounted on its pad and the Proton pad gantry in position, although no booster is mounted. A week later, the Soyuz booster is being removed from its pad, but now a Proton / L1 combination is on the Proton pad. This seems to clearly indicate that attempts were being made, right up to and beyond the day Apollo 8 was launched, to beat the Americans to the moon. The authors theorise that an attempt at a manned launch to the moon using the two-launch podsadka scenario was attempted, but that some serious spacecraft problem must have resulted in the Proton launch being scrubbed.

I believe that Kamanin was working during the November/December period to effort a Soviet attempt to beat Apollo 8 around the moon. The launch vehicle activity at Baikonur seems to support this belief, although there isn't enough evidence to make any supposition iron clad.

Kamanin's longer diary gap between July 7, 1969 and August 20, 1969 is more complicated to quantify. This gap begins only 4 days after the July 3, 1969 failure of a Soviet N1; Kamanin does not resume entries until after the safe return of Apollo 11's crew - in fact, until days after their release from post-mission quarantine.

The most reasonable explanation - and, perhaps, the initial reason - for Kamanin's absence and reported "vacation" is, in fact, that he was participation in a review of the N1 program, which had just suffered a second consecutive catastrophic failure. It would be reasonable to suppose that he would participate in such a review - and, perhaps, be under review himself.

However, such a review does not, in my opinion, explain away a month-and-a-half long absence and gap in diary entries. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that Kamanin was on "vacation" until after the Apollo 11 crew left quarantine. I will admit that I have little to no hard evidence to support my hypothesis for the July/August diary gap, but it is my belief that Kamanin was participating in not only a review of the N1 program but a Soviet attempt to disprove/debunk the Apollo 11 landing.

The Soviets were, despite the protests to the contrary, participating in a race to the moon with the United States. The Apollo 11 landing constituted a failure of the Soviet space program and, therefore, of the Soviet state itself. They would not, under any circumstances, have allowed such a situation to go uninvestigated. Between the launch and splashdown of Apollo 11 the Soviets undoubtedly recorded or otherwise documented every piece of information about the mission they could - it was no secret that Apollo 11 was attempting a moon landing. They could track the launch on radar and, presumably, with satellites. They could monitor radio communications. It is my belief that the Soviets attempted to debunk the Apollo 11 landings and failed.

Certainly idle speculation, but it is fun to speculate.

posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 05:10 PM
Interesting thread.

I remember the moon landing and though I was only 5 at the time I do remember being told that the soviets had actually beat us to the moon, but they had crashed on the moon thus it didn't count.

Not only that I seem to remember being told that the cosmonauts were on board that crashed spacecraft on the moon. Again I was only 5 years old, so it's possible my interpretation at that time was just a hallucination or perhaps my interpretation.

In fact at the time it seemed the more important matter was the first step on the moon and planting the American flag, but today when I look back at it most of the excitement of those involved was actually landing safely.

Of course today with robots and such one could plant their flag with a controlled crash and claim that they were there first, but at the time a crash would of been seen as failure thus would of been kept as secret as possible.

posted on Mar, 30 2009 @ 03:57 PM
See this ATS thread:
Radio communications saying its getting hot.
Russia was in space in the early 60s.
Perhaps why Kennedy said by '69 we will set foot on the Moon.

We thought Russia would have operations going and had to
go the distance.
Either Kennedy found out space was a racket or some other
racket did him in, there was no reversal of the moon landing effort.

posted on Apr, 28 2009 @ 11:55 AM
Some very well informed comments on this thread, on a fascinating topic.
All those stories were widespread -- the question always was, how many were misinterpretations, how many were wish-fulfillments, how many contained reliable, credible nuggets of reports. It's taken a lifetime literally to figure it all out.

I'll be doing some NBC stories on 'Myths of Apollo-11' for the 40th anniversary, and would love to hear more directly about some of these memories from people whose real names can be used -- contact me in care of my home page and check out the moonflight history stuff I have there.

posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 01:13 AM
reply to post by Flatwoods

This quote would be very appropriate for the story

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” - Les Brown

Did they really end up with the stars which is the Sun in this case?

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