Phantom Cosmonauts

Cosmonauts at the seaside resort at Sochi. In the photo on the right, Grigoriy Nelyubov has been airbrushed out. It’s just one of a number of doctored Soviet photographs from the early 1960s.

The Soviet Union was notoriously secretive about its space program in the early 1960s. Missions weren’t announced before they launched, and failures were covered up and  labeled as test flights or booster development flights. Adding to the mystery surrounding the Soviet space program were reports in the Western media of cosmonauts who may or may not have existed. Rehashing these Soviet-era mysteries in the present day, a Spanish artist created an exhibit in the 1990s around the idea of a cosmonaut killed in flight whose death was covered up.