How Many Died?
Man in space! Last week’s dramatic announcement from Moscow, though expected, still gave the world its biggest thrill for many years.
So, over 50 years ago, starts a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of April 19th 1961.
(The week before, Yuri Gagarin had become the first man in space on April 12th 1961)
The story continues:
But now the first excitement, even hysteria, in some circles – has evaporated, it is time to attempt an assessment of what the great Soviet achievement really means and to place it in its true technical perspective.
It may be safely assumed that Soviet guidance and control systems, communications, telemetry and other instrumentation is of a very high order.
This is amply indicated by the precision with which vehicles have been successfully orbited and recovered, although we don’t know how many failures may have occurred over the years.
It is very probable that many launchings have failed in one way or another and that news of these has been ruthlessly suppressed.
Some American columnists are convinced that men have perished in previous Soviet man-in-space attempts.