The Phantom Cosmonaut

by Anita Sullivan


Phantom cosmonaut, gloved hand in space


'The Phantom Cosmonaut' was part of BBC Radio 4 series of readings to celebrate 50 years since the launch of Sputnik. During the lead-up to putting Yuri Gagarin in space it is rumoured that the Soviet space programme launched several unsuccessful manned flights using Sputnik rocket technology. This short story follows one of these doomed missions.

'The Phantom Cosmonaut' is performed by Neil Dudgeon and was directed by Jeremy Osbourne. It is a Sweet Talk production, produced by Karen Rose. Broadcast October 2007.

Duration: 14 minutes


Void. Silent, cold, airless, black. At this distance, the sun itself is no more than a particularly bright star. At this distance, its warm breath is weak. But its hard light strikes a minute metal object, defines it in a sharp monochrome. It is torpedo-shaped, glass-smooth; trespassing blindly across space. It is silent. No movement or vibration indicates propulsion. It is on a long, unstoppable, sideways fall to infinity. It rotates gently. A porthole rolls into the eye of the sun, then blinks out.


Conspiracy Theories:

The edge of the solar system:



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