Although it is relatively recent, the history of space exploration already has some stories that border the limits between reality and legend.
Curiously, this story begins in Italy. In 1957, two brothers who were amateur astronautics from Turin, Achille and Giovanni Battista Judica-Cordiglia, created their own space listening station on top of an old German bunker from World War II, known as Torre Bert. Its purpose was to listen to the communications of the first space missions of the United States and the Soviet Union. They listened for years and their story was picked up in the famous magazine "The Reader's Digest" in April 1965. That same year, the brothers founded a network of 17 stations, known as the Zeus Network.
In the Bert Tower, these Italian brothers had 21 antennas that allowed them to record some of the communications of the Soviet space missions. The Judica-Cordiglia brothers became famous at the time and NASA invited them to visit several of its facilities in the United States. It must be said that due to the secrecy of that communist dictatorship, the USSR did not publicize its space missions until they were successful. The space race had become a propaganda contest between the two great powers and the Soviets did not want to admit failure.
In this sense, the brothers recorded some supposed communications from space missions that the USSR never announced. In other cases, the recordings obtained by the brothers did not correspond to the official information of the Soviet dictatorship. For example, the brothers said they had recorded the communications of Valentina Tereshkova, the first Soviet cosmonaut, two days before the official date of her space mission. This would not be strange at all, taking into account the official customs in the USSR.
One of the most disturbing recordings by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers was made in May 1961: the voice of an anguished female cosmonaut who was having problems during reentry into the atmosphere and who said she felt very hot, supposedly when his capsule is burning. Valentina Tereshkova's mission took place in June 1963 (on the 16th, according to the USSR, and on the 14th, according to the Italian brothers) and the USSR did not announce any space mission manned by a woman before. Thus, it would be the first woman to go into space and would have died on return. The brothers did not know Russian, so they had to ask translators for help. Finally, one of their sisters ended up learning Russian to help them in that task.
The Judica-Cordiglia brothers' recordings have drawn criticism from some skeptics for years. Some have made technical claims that contradict the brothers' claims, and even grammatical criticisms have been leveled at the recordings. , stating that they collect atypical or incorrect expressions in the Russian language. There are also doubts about the date changes indicated by the brothers: the The story of that woman cosmonaut was initially indicated to have been recorded in November 1963, but later they indicated that it was dated May 1961.
Some argue that the brothers made up the recordings to gain fame, but the brothers have always insisted on the authenticity of their recordings. There is still an interesting debate today about whether the story and the recordings of these brothers is a true story or an elaborate hoax.
8 years ago, Mirjam Veske published this short about the story of those Italian brothers and about the unknown Soviet cosmonaut woman recorded in 1961. In the video you can listen to the original recording of that woman obtained from the Torre Bert antennas:
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