Raumfahrt - Former head of Roscosmos now thinks NASA did not land on the Moon


The Soviets were actually orbiting the Moon when Apollo 11 landed.


Dmitry Rogozin was fired as director general of Russia's main space corporation, Roscosmos, nearly a year ago. He has spent much of the time since near the front lines of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, sharing various hateful, threatening, and nationalistic sentiments on his Telegram account.

Occasionally, however, the pugnacious politician still opines about space on his "Rogozin at the Front" social media account. He did so this weekend, calling into question whether the United States really did land astronauts on the Moon.

During his four-year tenure at Roscosmos, Rogozin wrote, he asked his leadership team to look into whether NASA had actually landed a dozen astronauts on the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After all, Rogozin reasoned, "It was not clear to me how the United States, at that level of technological development of the '60s of the last century, did what they still cannot do now?"

In response to these queries, Rogozin wrote, he received angry responses from academicians and "fans" of NASA at Roscosmos who did not want to undermine cooperation with the US space agency on the International Space Station. As evidence for the landing, Rogozin claims he only received a copy of a book by cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.

Accordingly, at the end of this "investigation," Rogozin said he does not believe Americans landed on the Moon but rather that they had succeeded in infiltrating the "establishment" of the Russian space program.

Rogozin's doubts about the Apollo Program did not surface publicly during his years at Roscosmos, but there were plenty of other reasons that NASA and other international partners found his leadership style insufferable. He mocked US astronauts, repeatedly threatened to pull Russia out of the space station partnership, and attempted to use the international facility for propaganda purposes. NASA was therefore thrilled to see Rogozin go when he was effectively fired in July 2022.

So why not just ignore this latest outburst from the mendacious Muscovite?

There are two good reasons. One is that Rogozin is tapping into a strengthening current of Moon-landing denialism. It seems to be increasingly in vogue to harbor doubts about whether NASA really could have pulled this off half a century ago, and Rogozin is more than happy to layer this into his vehement anti-Americanism. This denialism should be recognized and shamed.

Secondly, the Russians observed the lunar landing in real time from the ground—and even had a spacecraft in orbit around the Moon. Rogozin's claim that the only evidence Roscosmos could offer of the Moon landings was a book by Leonov is asinine. In reality, at the same time as the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, the Soviets launched a hastily developed lunar sample return mission. This Luna 15 mission was intended to return a few hundred grams of lunar soil just before NASA's astronauts returned to Earth in an effort to upstage NASA.

The Luna 15 spacecraft was in orbit around the Moon at the time Apollo 11 arrived there and when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin went down to the surface. There were even some backchannel discussionsbetween NASA and the Soviet space program to ensure that the two spacecraft did not interfere with communications between the Moon and Earth. In short, the Soviets were watching the American Moon landing closely and knew fully well what NASA had accomplished.

As for Luna 15, it crashed into the Moon a few hours before Armstrong and Aldrin took off from the Moon to return to Earth. The space race was over.

Quelle: arsTechnica

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