Hidden audio gem for space race fans
Web Log: 30-year-old archive from the Zond 6 mission released
Audio features the beeps of the spacecraft’s telemetry, Sir Bernard Lovell’s narration and Russian voices talking about instrument readings
At the height of the space race, the Soviet Union launched a series of probes under its Zond programme. Zond 4 to 8 were test flights ahead of its attempt to beat the Americans to putting the first person on the moon. Zond 5 was historic because it contained the first ever inhabitants of the earth to reach the moon; two tortoises, some worms, flies and plants all returned safely.
Zond 6, launched on 14th November 1968, was less fortunate: some more tortoises, worms, and seeds set off to circle the moon but the probe depressurised on re-entry, killing all biological specimens on board. It was part of a chain reaction of failures that led to a delay in the Soviet programme, leaving Nasa’s Apollo 8 to get there first.
While this was happening, Sir Bernard Lovell of Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK was tracking and recording these spacecraft signals. The observatory has just released 30 year old archive audio from the Zond 6 mission, featuring the beeps of the spacecraft’s telemetry, Lovell’s narration and Russian voices talking about instrument readings. Follow the link below, listen, and experience a never-before heard piece of space history.