Encyclopedia Astronautica
Phantom Cosmonaut


Over the years the Western press named a number of cosmonauts that were never acknowledged by the Soviet Union. Most were said to have died in space.

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Associated People
  • Frisbee Frisbee, Walter American phantom cosmonaut. Mysterious tenth member of second NASA astronaut group. The fearless Frisby was in fact a joke on the NASA press corps created by astronauts Lovell and Conrad. More...
  • Ilyushin Ilyushin, Vladimir Sergeyevich Russian test pilot. Most tangible phantom cosmonaut, purported first man in orbit according to French press report two days before Gagarin. A real person and test pilot, but no evidence he ever flew in space or trained as a cosmonaut. More...
  • Healey Healey, Roger American fictitious astronaut, featured in I Dream of Jeannie television program. More...
  • Nelson, Anthony Nelson, Anthony 'Tony' American fictitious astronaut, featured in I Dream of Jeannie television program. More...
  • Degenkolb Degenkolb, Gerd German Phantom cosmonaut. Leader of the Special Group for the A4 and supervisor of manufacturing for the 'war locomotive'. More...
  • Ledovskiy Ledovskiy, Aleksei (-1957) Russian phantom cosmonaut. In 1959 Italian news reported a series of cosmonaut deaths on suborbital flights, among these Ledovsky. No historical evidence ever emerged of any Soviet suborbital flights. More...
  • Shiborin Shiborin, Serenti (-1958) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Oberth claimed in 1959 that a pilot was killed on a sub-orbital flight from Kapustin Yar in early 1958. Italian press linked Shiborin name to this flight. No other evidence. More...
  • Gromova Gromova, Mirya (-1959) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Soviet test pilot said to have flown a 'space airplane' into oblivion 1959.12. No evidence ever surfaced in post-Glasnost Russia to back up the claim. More...
  • Mitkov Mitkov, Andrei (-1959) Russian phantom cosmonaut. In 1959 Italian news reported a series of cosmonaut deaths on suborbital flights, among these Mitkov. No historical evidence ever emerged of any Soviet suborbital flights. More...
  • Zavadovski Zavadovski, V (-1960) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Phantom cosmonaut. 1959 Moscow newspaper showed a Zavadovski testing high altitude equipment. Later presumed to have died on Korabl Sputnik 1 in May 1960. More...
  • Kachur Kachur, Ivan (-1960) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Said to have died in October 1960 in first attempted Soviet manned flight. Linked to model Khrushchev was to have revealed at UN. In fact, model was of Mars probe that failed. More...
  • Graciov Graciov, Alexis (-1960) Russian phantom cosmonaut, alleged sender of a morse code radio message from deep space received by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers on 1960.11.28. In fact Russia would not have a large enough booster for such a mission until 1968. More...
  • Mikhailov Mikhailov, Gennady (-1961) Russian phantom cosmonaut, said to have died 1962.01.24, reported by Cordiglia brothers in 1962 and later Edwards book. Based on 1959 photo of high altitude equipment tester. More...
  • Ludmila Ludmila (-1961) Russian phantom cosmonaut, claimed by Judica-Cordiglia brothers to have died in space in 1961 - or 1963. More...
  • Ivanovich Ivanovich, Ivan Russian phantom cosmonaut. Two Vostok test flights used a mannequin, dubbed 'Ivan Ivanovich'. To prevent confusion by peasants who might think he was a dead cosmonaut or alien, a sign reading 'MAKET' ('dummy') was placed under his visor. More...
  • Mechanical Astronaut Mechanical Astronaut, Mercury American phantom cosmonaut. The MAS was an electronic mannequin that could 'inhale' and 'exhale' man-like quantities of gas, heat, and water vapor. It flew twice (MA 3 launch abort 1961.04.25 and one orbit on MA-4 1961.09.13). More...
  • Belokonyov Belokonyov, Alexis (-1962) Russian phantom cosmonaut, reported died in orbit 1962.05.15. Judica-Cordiglia reported radio trasnmission 1962.11. Named in 1959.10 Ogonyok article on high altitude equipment test. Basis for 1969 novel Autopsy for a Cosmonaut. More...
  • Dolgov Dolgov, Piotr (-1960) Russian phantom cosmonaut, purportedly dying on a Vostok flight on 1960.10.11. The real Dolgov died 1961.11.01, jumping from a balloon from 28 km in a Vostok suit test on 1962.11.01. His visor cracked and he died when his suit depressurized. More...
  • Grachev Grachev (-1961) Russian phantom cosmonaut, one of two that allegedly disappeared aboard 'Vostok 3' on a circumlunar mission in 1961. In reality multimanned Vostok would be flown until 1964, and no circumlunar missions until 1968. More...
  • Istochnikov Istochnikov, Ivan (-1968) Russian phantom cosmonaut, reported lost aboard Soyuz 2, an unmanned spacecraft that was the docking target for Soyuz 3. Actually an elaborate 1998 modern art exercise by Joan Fontcuberta. Casual Internet surfers took it to be a real person. More...
  • Mikoyan, Andrei Mikoyan, Andrei (-1969) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Story made rounds at ESA in 2000 of two Russian cosmonauts that died in 1969 on lunar landing attempt. Source was TV series, 'The Cape', episode 'Buried in Peace', aired 1996.10.28. More...
  • Boris Chimp 504 Boris Chimp 504 (-1969) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Fictional lunar landing chimpanzee, subject of Dwayne Allen Day satire of Soviet space history research articles. More...
  • Yebenov Yebenov, Profiri (-1969) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Moscow urban legend: Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the moon. Naked Soviet cosmonaut, stranded sometime before, assisted them in repairing their lunar module. Joke: Yebenov means 'f---d' in Russian. More...
  • FM-2 FM-2 Russian phantom cosmonaut. Radiation phantom, instrumented anthromorphic dummy (with Gagarin's face!) used to measure radiation dose rates in circumlunar space. Flew to moon and back on Zond 7, 1969 and in earth orbit on Cosmos 368, 1970. More...
  • KGB Dwarf KGB Dwarf (-1971) Russian phantom cosmonaut. Moscow urban legend of 1970: diminutive robot Lunokhod crawler was actually driven by a midget KGB agent on a one-way suicide mission to the lunar surface. More...
  • Claggett Claggett, Randy (-1973) American phantom cosmonaut. Fictional Apollo 18 mission commander who died on the lunar surface in Michener's novel Space and the resulting television mini-series. More...
  • Fedrov Fedrov, Igor (-1991) Russian phantom cosmonaut. 1998 urban legend held that during the fall of Soviet Union, their cosmonauts were stranded on the Mir space station. Embodied on film by character Fedrov in short Norwegian film 'Kosmonaut'. More...
  • Chen Long Chen Long Chinese phantom cosmonaut. Phantom astronaut identified as first Chinese man in space in 2003. Mistranslation of Li Qinglong. More...

See also
  • Astronaut Category of persons, applied to those trained for spaceflight outside of Russia and China. More...

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