The Great Soviet Space Bamboozle

Published: 2004-08-01

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Communist propaganda has successfully turned black into white in most areas of human activity. Why then should the West uncritically believe Soviet claims concerning their space projects? The writer of the following article has spent many years in studying Soviet space claims, and his findings are that they must be treated with the greatest suspicion. It appears that even some Western scientists can be as gullible as Western politicians.

The tremendous ballyhoo about the meeting in space between three American astronauts and two Russian cosmonauts in 1975 could not conceal the embarrassing fact that the Soviet Union was an inferior and rather make-shift space-partner to the United States. There is little to wonder, when the Western media soon cut short reporting about the "space détente."

In keeping with the West's policy of wholesale surrender everywhere, the Apollo craft had to go to meet Soyuz (certainly not only because the Russian craft was unable to do major maneuvering in space). In an icy scene, US astronaut Stafford had to go forward to shake hands with Soviet cosmonaut Leonov. Colonel Stafford, a veteran of Gemini 6, Gemini 9 and Apollo 10 would likely have been much angered, if he had known not only more about Communist behavior, but also more about Colonel Leonov and his strange experience in Voskhod 2 in 1965.

Older readers still remember how the same media reported "the Soviet Union five..." or "...ten years ahead in the space race" during the 1960s. In March 1965, a few days before the start of the Gemini program, still relatively little was known about manned space flight. The world press had its sensation, when it reported the launch of a Soviet space ship called Voskhod 2, manned by two cosmonauts. Already on the second orbit one of them, Alexei Leonov, had allegedly left the spacecraft and floated in space. A film of exceeding poor quality was shown over all TV stations of the "first space walk," and the comments about this "Soviet leap ahead in space" were depressing indeed for many opponents of Communism. All friends of the Soviet Union were delighted.

Left: "Alexei Leonov's Spacewalk – A television picture of Alexei Leonov performing the first ever spacewalk. Good quality pictures from Leonov's walk outside the "Voskhod 2" vehicle are not available because the camera mounted on the outside of "Voskhod 2" could not be retrieved from the airlock, which was ejected before re-entry."
Thus NASA on its website.[1]
Right: Allegedly a similar scene from the same spacewalk – from a Russian website.[2] The tubes run differently.

As a reward for their achievement, Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov traveled to Western space conferences. What they told eager listeners was a bit here and there, yet very disappointing in technical details. Nothing at all was told about the technical features of the Voskhod spaceship (and to this day no pictures or technical data have been published). But over the years, when more and more interviews were published, one curious fact emerged: The stories Leonov told about his space walk differed substantially from each other, even contradicted themselves. He told interviewer Charles Gautier:

"When we were above Africa, I had begun with the preparations for the exit. Above the Mediterranean I was half out. Before Simferopol I left. I looked down: We flew somewhere above Kertch. I have seen the Black Sea, the Gulf Novorossisk, the cloud haze above the Caucasus. The Ural Mountains I did not notice: I made then some somersaulting. I did also some filming. Then I saw the mighty Siberian rivers Irtych and Yenissei. Above the Yenissei the commander ordered me to return.

The return was more difficult than the exit. I had to keep my time. It was clear to me that I had no right for any risks. I decided not to wrap the safety tether around my hand. This also was correct. I went quickly through the air lock and gave the sign. The commander closed the hatch, pumped air into the chamber and I floated into the cabin.

The commander worked on according to schedule, while I entered my impressions of my experience outside the space craft into the log book. I wrote about one and a half hours." (emphasis added)

We note from this statement the remarkable short preparation time required by Leonov. The time elapsed from his beginning over Africa to opening the hatch could not have been more than ten minutes.

Contradicting Versions of Space Walk

Apparently both easy and not easy was Leonov's space walk when he told it the first time to the press. According to The Australian of March 24th 1965 Leonov stated:

"In an interview with the Soviet press Colonel Leonov said his plunge into space was not difficult – even simple. 'The ship shook and seems to lurch forward slightly from the push made by the movement', he said. His return to the cabin was more difficult.

He said the earth looked flat, and its curve was noticeable only on the horizon. 'In front of me was black sky. I saw the stars were bright but they were not twinkling,' he said. 'The sun had no halo and it seemed to be welded into a black velvety background.'

Everything he did required tremendous effort and he got rather tired. Colonel Leonov discounted fears for his safety but admitted he was not used to working in his suit" (emphasis added)

Medical space researcher Dr. Herbert Pichler writes:

"In space suits pressures must be considerably reduced (to 0.24 at), because if the plastic layers would be filled with air of normal pressure, it would be too great a difference to the vacuum and cause stiffness. The effect would be the same as an inflated car tire. For a 'soft' space suit 0.5at is the maximum. Higher values hamper the movement of the astronaut. However, as air at this pressure does not permit breathing, pure oxygen breathing is required. For this a changeover time of about one hour is necessary, in this time the nitrogen is flushed out of the body tissues." (Pichler, Die Mondlandung, p. 245; emphases added)

Leonov told Kenneth Gatland, vice-president of the British Interplanetary Society, something not mentioned elsewhere when he saw him at the 1965 Space Congress in Athens:

"Before he left the cabin [space suit] pressure was 0.27 atmosphere, when he stepped out into space it was 0.4 at. And he reset it to 0.2 1/4 before climbing back [...] He confirmed that he [Leonov] had remained outside for about ten minutes, another ten minutes was spent inside the air lock – a total of 20 minutes in vacuum."

Dr. Pichler:

"The Soviet procedure has the disadvantage that any excursion into space takes a very long preparation time."

Who has been bamboozled here?

"In a review of the latest flight, TASS said during the night the cosmonauts slept in turns, rested and breakfasted. The news agency said the cosmonauts' respiration rate was between 18 and 20 per minute and pulse rate 72 to 78 per minute. Cabin pressure was 1.2 atmosphere, temperature 18C and humidity 45p.c. TASS said, the cosmonauts sent greetings to the people of Australia as they flew over that continent." (The Australian, March 20, 1965)

Among uninteresting drivel we note that the official TASS statement alleged a cabin pressure 20per cent higher than on the ground! How could Leonov prepare himself in ten minutes without getting the "bends" or suffocating? What was the purpose in changing space suit pressure three times in ten minutes? Or can anyone imagine the problems in a small spaceship of purifying air with 80p.c. inert nitrogen at pressure higher than on the ground?

Top: Allegedly a picture of the Voskhod capsule, 2.3 meters in diameter – but where could the 2,3 m long cylindrical capsule with the hatch possibly be?[2]

Right: schematic drawing of Voskhod 2. The space lock cylinder was allegedly attached to one side, sticking out like an erected penis. But how can one launch such an object in the slender tip of a rocket?[3]

"In Geneva, a Soviet cosmonaut said today, he and his colleagues were not troubled with the sweating and breathing difficulties encountered by the American astronaut Richard Gordon on his space walk last week.

Dr. Boris Yegorov, who took part in the three man Soviet space flight in October 1964, told a press conference the probable reason was that the Soviet spacemen worked in completely normal atmospheric conditions." (The Australian, September 22nd, 1966)

As a scientist who boasts the acquaintance of the famous German-born rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and as space researcher, Dr. Herbert Pichler (and all the other self acclaimed space experts) should recognize the difference between fact and fiction in an instant. But he was no match for Communist Party member Alexei Leonov, when he met him at the 1968 astronautical congress in Vienna. The seasoned liar put the good doctor on his back quite effortlessly when he told him about his space walk in yet another version:

"The passing through the lock is exactly as that of a ship lock, however, the air lock is smaller, of course. It has cylindrical shape, one meter diameter, 2.3 meter long. At first the inner hatch is opened and pressure between chamber and lock equalized. When the pressure was the same as inside the cabin, I swam into the lock – one cannot say crept – and closed the hatch behind me. Through a valve the air of the lock vents off, and when the lock pressure was the same as outside, about 1/1000 millionth of normal pressure. I opened the outer hatch. Everything else was simple. I floated into space, walked around a little and returned. On earth and during flight all precautions had been met to give me a maximum of safety. All had expected there would be a sharp moment of emotion, accompanied by a raise of pulse and breathing frequency. However, I had no feeling of fear. I am, when I am working, a very serious person, I don't want to say I have a nature of steel, but my pulse went up only by two beats a minute. The reason was probably I had the strong desire to carry out the experiment." (Pichler, Die Mondlandung, p. 246, emphasis added)

How can a man, locked in a bulky space suit inside a tube of one meter diameter, close the hatch above his head and then open the other below his feet? How can he do gymnastics in a space suit (or even without, for that matter) with only two heart-beats more than normal? How can a strong desire keep the heart rate down? Such mendacity was accepted, believed, and printed in the 1970s!

More Absurdities

This is not the only impossibility of comrade Leonov's space flight. For example, nobody knows anything about the air lock, in spite of Leonov's description. Dr. Pichler believes it was inside the cabin. But defected space journalist Leonid Vladimirov stated that the 'Voskhod' craft was the same as the previous 'Vostok' one-man-craft: a sphere of 2,3 m diameter. If that were true, then Leonov had to step into space in order to enter the lock! Vladimirov, who had picked up some bits from his masters, but by far not all secrets, believed, it was attached outside the craft, which raises the awkward question, how such a contraption could have survived the launch. The most idiotic suggestion I found in a book of a western expert, who thought "the airlock apparently being inflatable"! To such lengths western writers are prepared to go before they dare to question the truth of Soviet propaganda!

The Absurd Landing Story of Voskhod 2

"On re-entry the primary retrorockets failed. A manually controlled retrofire was accomplished one orbit later (perhaps[sic!!!] with the backup solid rocket retropack on the nose of spacecraft – which did not exist on Vostok). The service module failed to separate completely, leading to wild gyrations of the joined reentry sphere – service module before connecting wires burned through. Vostok 2 finally landed near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest at 59:34 N 55:28 E on March 19, 1965 9:02 GMT. The crew spent the night in the woods, surrounded by wolves, before being located. Recovery crew had to chop down trees to clear a landing zone for helicopter recovery of the crew, who had to ski to the clearing from the spacecraft. Only some days later could the capsule itself be removed."[4]

A wildly gyrating reentry sphere would burn up in the atmosphere... Soviet cosmonauts were apparently equipped with skis, but their helicopters were not equipped with ropes to recover the astronauts from a forest. How did the rescue crew get there to chop down trees? What did Soviet helicopters do, when they had to rescue people from the ocean? Pump out the water?

Now let us see, if these tales about the 'Soviet space veteran' do not backfire! If there is no likelihood that Leonov did in fact walk in space, how much less likely were the Soviets to be "ahead in the space race"? Indeed, there are noted writers such as Lloyd Mallan, Leonid Vladimirov, or Professor Anthony Sutton, who doubted the Soviet capabilities of getting ahead in space and considered it all a gigantic propaganda hoax. How it was organized, will be revealed here for the first time.

A Disaster in Space – or...?

On Saturday, March 20, 1965, The Australian reported:

"A tracking station in Bochum, West Germany, heard the Soviet ground controllers tell the cosmonauts to make a parachute landing about 10.30 pm Eastern Australian Time, but Voskhod was still in orbit one hour later. Soviet ground controllers, using maximum force, beamed the landing instructions almost without stop and pleaded for confirmation.

The ground controllers called 'Attention, attention, come in... come in... we are sending new instructions... confirm by telegraphic code.'

Signals which indicated the men had landed were heard about midnight EST. Before that, the Bochum trackers picked up signals indicating that Voskhod2 was still in orbit, although it had altered its trajectory.

Then came new signals on the same frequency as the Voskhod transmissions, but of a different quality. At first the Bochum scientists believed they came from a second Soviet space ship. Further analysis lead to the presumption, they were sent during or after landing."

Here are clearly some hints, as to what had been going on during Soviet space flights in the sixties. The trackers of Bochum University almost blew the whole hoax; they were very close to breaking the great secret of pretended Soviet manned spaceflights – had they only pursued the mystery with an unprejudiced mind.

  • They had found signals, which indicated that 'Voskhod2' was still in orbit after it was due to land.
  • They had noticed, that 'Voskhod2' had altered its trajectory.
  • It had sent its signals on the same frequency, but of a different quality, so they at first assumed there was something in space beside or in place of 'Voskhod2'.

The Soviets indeed worked overtime in explaining to the world what went wrong with their spacecraft after Leonov's alleged space excursion. The two cosmonauts stated later, much later, that "the retro-rocket-system had failed" and they landed "manually." The Soviet sources also admitted that an antenna had been damaged at or before the landing. But that does not suffice to reconcile their problems with observations: On March 24, 1965, The Australian reported again "that Voskhod was seriously off course at the end of the flight and in a potentially dangerous situation." (Emphasis added.)

Voskhod, like Vostok, was supposed to be like a "Mercury" space capsule, unable to maneuver in space. As Voskhod2 changed its trajectory (of which it was not capable by design), it must be denied, that Belyayev and Leonov were on board, for they knew or told nothing about the changed orbit. Their talk of landing "manually" is meaningless – they never explained how they aligned their spaceship, pushed a certain button, and miraculously the rockets fired after all. However, observation leaves no doubt that "Voskhod" made an unscheduled 18th orbit "seriously off course." Thus it must be excluded that the retro-rockets failed. They did work after the 17th orbit, only they fired in the wrong direction. The spacecraft thus altered its trajectory, and damaged antennae caused a change in transmission quality. Again, if cosmonauts had been on board this misshap-sticken space ship, they would have been doomed.

Soviet ground control was evidently in confusion and helpless: A disaster was not on the flight plan; improvisation was attempted, but the problem carried them away. No record of talk between the cosmonauts and ground control at this crucial moment exists. Why did the cosmonauts not report immediately, or why were they silent in such a desperate situation? The cosmonauts were told to confirm "by telegraphic code"! For obvious reasons the message was aimed at western listeners with "maximum force," not to living men in a stricken spaceship. So, once again: Belyayev and Leonov did not answer, because they were not in space with 'Voskhod2.'

Alexeï Leonov

...a Gigantic Hoax Run!

What sort of Soviet craft had orbited the earth then, if it was not a spaceship with two cosmonauts on board? All stated contradictions and lies expose the secret of Leonov's "space flight": What Soviet propaganda called "Voskhod 2" was actually a tiny satellite that carried tape-recorded voices, heartbeats etc. and (faked) telemetric transmissions for a gigantic hoax!

We can understand now the absolute secrecy around the "manned Voskhod spacecraft" to this day: only drawings were published, without any resemblance to a real spaceship. It did not exist at all. We understand now Yegorov's statement, the "cosmonauts worked in completely normal atmospheric conditions," typical communist dialectic which means, they never left the ground! And the mystery, how the Soviets could blast a heavy spaceship into orbit with two men and technically impossible equipment on board, while the rockets available to them at the time were not capable of achieving that, is thus also solved.

It is unlikely that the Soviet controllers succeeded in bringing down their hoax satellite after its retro-rockets changed the orbit. They probably blew it asunder by ground command. This was the fate of satellite Cosmos 57, launched four weeks before on February 22, 1965. And Cosmos 47 was recovered after 24 hours. "It was a trial run for Voskhod 1," Mr. Gatland tells us. Soviet satellites with tape-recorded voices have been observed on other occasions. The Americans have successfully landed satellites since 1960 and built tape recorders since 1959 – plenty of time for the Soviet espionage network to copy them. We now understand why the contradictions of this Soviet master-piece of bamboozling the West go on about every other detail. Some reported a landing in the Arctic, some in the Urals, some near Perm. Some said the cosmonauts were found a few hours later, some say after days, near a village or deep in the forest, where they had lit a fire to keep warm. (What foresight by their handlers to equip them with matches!)

All this would probably have been forgotten, had not Soviet propaganda on behalf of Party comrade Leonov brought him back to the memory of the world. Perhaps it was designed to bolster their great hoax after its near failure 10 years before. He was supposed to be not only a space veteran older than Stafford, but also "the first to walk in space" – an obnoxious insult aimed at the late Ed White, the really first free-floating spaceman. Alexei Leonov, the Soviet "cosmonaut hero," is truly a remarkable sample of Communist deceit.



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Author(s): F.G. Kausch
Title: The Great Soviet Space Bamboozle
Published: 2004-08-01
First posted on CODOH: July 16, 2012, 7 p.m.
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