Failed flight to the moon: what does the previously unknown recording of the Soviet mission Zond-6 tell us

    We have already written about how scientists digitized the archive of negotiations of American astronauts with the command center. Now you can hear the sound from the Soviet spacecraft.

    The Jodrell Bank Observatory in Britain published a previously unknown radio signal recording from Zond 6. This device was a prototype of a ship on which Soviet astronauts wanted to send to the moon. What is on the record - let's tell under the cut.

    Photo by Mark Gunn / CC BY

    What is Zond-6?

    Most of the space missions of the probe series were limited to testing devices for the Soviet lunar program. It was planned that by 1967, the designers will create a ship in which two cosmonauts will make a manned flyby of a natural satellite of our planet. However, due to problems with launch vehicles, the program was delayed, and by 1968 the USSR continued to send prototype ships to extraterrestrial space.

    The main thing for Soviet space explorers was to fly around the moon before American astronauts. However, in the end, the US lunar program was more successful, and in December 1968, the Apollo 8 rounded the Earth satellite.

    " Probe-6Was one of the experimental Soviet ships. It was launched in November 1968. With it, scientists wanted to investigate the level of radiation on the route from Earth to the Moon. For the same purpose, the previous ship, Zond-5, was sent to space (this mission was successful). However, during the landing of the Zond-6, the cockpit of the device depressurized, because of which the ship was unfastened from the parachute system ahead of time and crashed upon landing.

    Who posted entries

    Radio signal from Zond 6 was caught and recorded at the British Observatory Jodrell Bank. It houses the radio telescope named after Bernard Lovell, who founded it as a scientist. In 1968, the radio telescope still bore the name "Mark-1" and was the largest in the world: its mirror diameter is 76.2 m. Now it is only the third largest.

    Photo by David Warrington / CC BY

    The Mark-1 collected data on the flights of the spacecraft to the Moon - tracked the trajectory of the ships and received signals from them. The same happened during the flight of the Zond-6: the staff of the observatory caught the radio signal from the space ship and recorded it on tape.

    What is a record

    The signal that Zond-6 transmitted during flight and landing hit the recording. The first part of the audio is dated November 13: at this time the ship went into orbit around the moon. The remainder refers to November 17, the day when the apparatus was supposed to land back to Earth.

    With Zond 6, previously recorded voice messages were transmitted to the command center. It was necessary to simulate the flight of astronauts to the moon and check the communication system.

    The messages contained ( .pdf ) call signs, which were combinations of numbers, letters and words, for example: “Boris twenty-five hundred ninety-three” or “Dmitriy twenty-six two hundred four”. Most of the words - "Boris", "Vladimir", "Dmitry" - represent letters in the phonetic alphabet .

    But in the recording there are also strange words: “Seryozha”, “willow”, “knock” - which are not used in radio communications. Sometimes only the letter combinations were transmitted: “First - BFO, second - KRL”.

    Postings are sometimes interrupted by comments by the founder of the laboratory, Sir Bernard Lovell. He reports on the time, location of the ship and other data on the status of the Zond 6 mission.

    This was not the first time that Jodrell Bank scientists had "caught" a recording from a spacecraft. They intercepted similar messages transmitted by Zond-5. That signal surprised the researchers: not because they considered that they were hearing the negotiations of the crew of the ship, but because the USSR denied launching the vehicle to the Moon and announced the mission only after a successful landing of Zond-5.

    Everyone can listen to the recording. According to representatives of the observatory, it will become part of the exhibition, which opens in Jodrell Bank in early 2021. The decoding of the record is also available: its physicist, the physicist, the Nobel Prize winner Konstantin Novoselov helped to make it .

    Other new space mission recordings

    Earlier in the blog we talked about the project Explore Apollo: on its website there are audio recordings of negotiations that were conducted during the Apollo 11 mission. Including Neil Armstrong's famous phrase: "This is a small step for a man, but a giant leap for all of humanity."

    Photo by Marc Van Norden / CC BY

    Recently, a scheme of Americans' flight to the moon and several more records were added to the site , perpetuating the talks between the staff of the command center and the astronauts and among themselves. The project is conducted by a team of scientists independent of NASA, who previously digitized the archive of films of the agency’s three space missions.

    NASA itself lays out negotiations with ships and other sounds from space into its collection.on The latest updates of the collection - talks sorted by day with the crew members of the 56th expedition to the ISS, as well as records from the second flight of the Challenger shuttle, completed in 1983.

    Digitization of the entire archive of past NASA missions began in 2006. It is led by engineer John Stoll. Earlier in an interview, he said that the most difficult thing was to “pull out” information from films of the 1980s and 1990s. Due to the chemical composition, they are badly damaged and stuck together.

    John has to bake the magnetic tape reels. The films are heated in a special device: this is the way to remove excess moisture from them and restore them for a while.them to a state close to the original, so that they can be reproduced. Apparently, now he continues to restore the films of that period, and in the near future there will be more audio files from the first flights of the shuttles.

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