The true story of Italian radio enthusiasts, Achille and Gian Judica-Cordiglia, who intercepted transmissions from early Russian space missions and listened in as the earliest men and women in space called in vain for help

It is 1964 and the Americans are losing the space race. The Soviets are way ahead and the Americans have failed utterly in gaining any intelligence on their rivals' space programme. So it seems fairly outrageous when two young Italian brothers turn up at NASA claiming to have successfully recorded almost every Russian space mission over the previous seven years. NASA has to take notice when they realise that the brothers have also intercepted American missions and have tapes of classified transmissions by John Glenn, the first American in space

As it happens they have been sending these recordings to NASA since the outset, but no one has believed them. No one except Carla Pettigrew, an audio analyst who is now trying to persuade Major Will Spencer, NASA's technical director, that he should believe what they have to say

Featuring some of the actual recordings made by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers, including the sound of a woman dying in space as her craft burns up on re-entry

Written by Glen Neath

Sound by Alisdair McGregor and Howard Jacques

Directed by Boz Temple-Morris

Achille ... Giacomo Valdameri

Gian ... Simeon Perlin

Maria Teresa ... Silvia Mercuriali

Will ... Nathan Osgood

Eugene ... Dominic Hawksley

Carla ... Serena Bobowski

Mike ... Francesco Calabretta

Other parts played by members of the company

A Holy Mountain production for BBC Radio 4

Broadcast as The Afternoon Play 29 May, 2009