On 20 February 1962, while John Glenn lay flat on his back inside the instrument-packed capsule Friendship 7, a buzzing Torre Bert was packed full of students, professors, children, friends, family, hangers-on and one or two shady characters (of which, more later).

For several long minutes, static streamed into Torre Bert, when suddenly Achille hissed “SSSSSSHH!” And then it came through: the voice of the first American in space: “Capsule is turning around. Oh, that view is tremendous! I can see the booster doing turnarounds just a couple of hundred yards behind. Cape is go and I am go.”

From Lost in Space, a fascinating article in Fortean Times, about the Soviet “lost cosmonauts,” as well as the Judica-Cordiglia brothers, two Italian teens who figured out how to listen in on both Soviet and NASA transmissions. (The head of the Soviet cosmonaut program branded them “The Gangsters of Space”) Required reading for anyone interested in the space race.

16.03.2012 • Permalink