In order to successfully pull off a deception, two things are required. Not only must an illusion be presented as truth, the truth must also be hidden lest the lie be revealed. One of the common arguments set forth in opposition to claims that NASA faked the moon landings is that it would have been impossible for so many people who worked on the Apollo space program to keep a deception secret. It is estimated that several hundred thousand people were engaged in various roles within NASA and its contractors during the years of the moon project’s development and execution.
On the surface, such an argument appears rational, for as more people are privy to a secret the chances of the secret being outed rises. It is untenable to believe that hundreds of thousands of individuals could preserve the truth of a massive hoax being carried out for such a long period of time. The argument of the naysayers, however, is flawed. Although there were large numbers of people who worked on the Apollo project in various capacities, the vast majority of these individuals saw only a very small part of the project. An employee of a company contracted to fabricate the boots worn by the astronauts, or the bolts needed to construct the lunar module, would have no need to be informed of a conspiracy being carried out by an inner group. Of the several hundred thousand individuals who worked on the Apollo program, no more than a couple hundred individuals need ever know about the deception, for tasks were compartmentalized.
At the same time it would be untenable to suggest, in a deception as massive as the Apollo moon missions, that there would not be leaks as people became aware of the lies and deceptions being carried out. There are people of integrity who cannot be bribed or bullied into joining a work they deem to be dishonest and immoral. Consequently, those in charge of the deception must be prepared to deal with the whistleblowers in order to preserve the illusion they are creating. Unknown to the majority of the populace is the fact that whistleblowers existed, and were silenced, during the years of the Apollo program. The evidence is quite compelling. Tens of billions of dollars and the reputations of powerful men were at stake. People have been murdered for far less.
On January 27, 1967 a fire broke out inside the lunar command module for Apollo 1 as the three astronauts Virgil (Gus) Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were inside running a simulation. The door of the module had been sealed. Per standard operating procedure at the time, the cabin was flooded with pure oxygen. Fire is defined as “rapid oxidation.” When presented with a source of pure oxygen a fire will rage with explosive fury. These three astronauts died within 15 seconds of the time they first reported a fire in the capsule. An investigation was called for by Congress. The results of that investigation were inconclusive, suggesting only that a bare wire may have arced initiating the fire in the capsule.
White, Chaffee and Grissom
Charred Space Suits
Apollo 1 Command Module After Fire
Of all the Apollo astronauts, Gus Grissom and his two crew mates were the most outspoken about the deficiencies of the lunar space program. Grissom famously hung a lemon plucked from a tree in his yard over the command module simulator they used for training. The image below of the Apollo 1 crew was presented to the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office manager Joseph Shea. It shows the crew praying, and bore the message, “It isn't that we don't trust you, Joe, but this time we've decided to go over your head.”
This mockery of the viability and safety of the Apollo program undoubtedly did not sit well with those who wanted to present to the public an image of continual progress and success in pursuit of landing men on the moon. In a telling indication of the rancor between the crew and the program managers, the last words spoken by Gus Grissom before the fire in the capsule related to a glitch in the radio system which the men used to speak to the ground crew. Grissom stated, “How are we going to get to the Moon if we can't talk between two buildings?”
Grissom had already had a serious conflict with the space program’s managers when in 1961 the hatch on his Liberty Bell 7 capsule had prematurely opened after splash down. NASA sought to pin the blame on Grissom, suggesting he panicked and opened the hatch too early in his haste to get out. Astronaut Wally Schirra presented the best evidence defending Grissom. After detonating the explosive bolts on his Sigma 7 capsule, Schirra’s hands were bruised and cut. There was no visible injury to Grissom’s hands. NASA, however, was loathe to admit they had faulty equipment. Grissom had a contentious relationship with NASA management from that time until his death in the Apollo 1 fire.
On the documentary Moon Shot, at the 1 hour and 44 minute mark, Lola Morrow, the astronauts’ secretary, spoke of the unusually subdued character of the three member crew on that morning. Their behavior was an anomaly for which she offered no explanation. She states, “In the morning when the crew came in to the office, you know, I sensed something. I do not know what it was that I sensed, but I picked up something from all three of them. There was a quietness about them. Instead of being ready for a test, where they usually just get up and bounce out the door, it was something they didn’t want to do. Their attitude was 180 from anything I had ever seen before.”
What was the cause of these men’s reluctance to perform the simulation that morning? Did they have a premonition that something tragic was about to happen? Did they sense their lives were in peril? Did they mistrust the government they were working for?
Perhaps it struck the men as odd that NASA had mounted an obsolete version of the command module atop the Saturn rocket to be used for their simulation that day. NASA would not be disadvantaged materially if the obsolete command module were totaled for they already had come out with updated designs. Additionally, a new design of the door (hatch) to the module was installed just prior to the simulation. The new hatch design opened inward instead of outward. In a fire, the pressure increase inside the module would render it impossible to open a hatch that opened inward. The replaced hatch also lacked explosive bolts which would have allowed for an immediate egress.
In the book Mission to the Moon, authors Kennan and Harvey wrote, “The day of the plugs-out test (i.e., the simulation), the TV camera inside the space-craft, which was an important piece of flight and test equipment, was absent; its retaining brackets had somehow been bent during installation.” Kennan and Harvey go on to explain that fire extinguishers were normally located in the spacecraft during its testing, and that fire resistant teflon sheets would be draped over wire bundles and the astronaut's couches. “These particular items, non flight items, were conspicuously absent in command module 012 during the fatal plugs-out test on January 27, 1967.” Kennan and Harvey concluded their observations of the Apollo 1 fire by listing the following anomalies which occurred on that fateful day.
- It was the first and only use of the new three piece hatch.
- It was the first plugs-out test in which as many as three hatches were closed on a crew in an oxygen atmosphere at a pressure of sixteen pounds per square inch.
- It was the first occasion of the Apollo emergency escape drill under all-out pre-launch conditions.
- It was the first occasion when certain non flight flammable materials, such as two foam rubber cushions - were placed in the cockpit.
It may have been an awareness of numerous departures from standard operating procedure which led the three astronauts to suspect something ominous lay in store for them. One obvious sign of the men’s concern is that Grissom had Wally Schirra, the astronauts’ representative, to request that Joseph Shea, the project manager, be present in the command module for this simulation. Joseph Shea declined, stating there was not enough time to install a 4th headset in the module. In the book Angle of Attack, author Mike Gray states that Grissom told his wife, “If there ever is a serious accident in the space program, it's likely to be me.”
One might reasonably conjecture that such statements and behavior by Grissom were related to his conflict with NASA management. He evidently understood he was a thorn in the side of NASA’s top brass, and he feared the repercussions. Speaking to an Associated Press reporter, Grissom had stated that the chances of the Apollo Space Program meeting its mission requirements was “pretty slim” (p. 117, Footprints On the Moon, 1969). In this same book published by the AP news service, it is stated that Grissom threatened to go public regarding problems with the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module). This was the sort of bad press the American space program desired to avoid for it could jeopardize their funding in Congress. Astonishingly, in the same year of 1967 four other Apollo astronauts died in plane crashes and one in a car wreck. The statistical probability of so many individuals from a small pool of people perishing in “accidents” in such a short period of time is astronomical, or perhaps we should say, “astronautical.”
Grissom’s wife Betty, and his son Scott, have insisted from the beginning that NASA was covering up what really happened. By 1972, five years after the Apollo 1 tragedy, Betty Grissom had not received any compensation from NASA for her husband’s death. Just before the statute of limitations was reached to sue for compensation, she hired Houston attorney Ronald T. Krist. On behalf of Betty Grissom and the other deceased astronauts’ wives, Krist sued North American Aviation, the primary contractor responsible for building the command module. Krist sued for ten million. In the end Betty Grisssom was awarded $350,000, and the other astronauts’ wives were awarded $125,000 each. Gus Grissom’s wife stated she would not have even been able to send her two sons to college had not her husband’s alma mater, Purdue University, given them both scholarships.
Pat White, the widow of Apollo 1 astronaut Ed White, took an overdose of pills after his death. The news was kept from the public. She survived and went on to remarry, but reportedly committed suicide in 1991.
Astronaut Roger Chaffee with Wife Margaret and Children
After the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, People Magazine published an interview with Margaret Chaffee who was 27 years old when her husband died. Nineteen years later she related the following.
The children and I were at our home near Houston when it happened. I remember it vividly. You put it in the back of your mind, but you never forget. It was around 7 o'clock in the evening. I had fed the children when some astronaut wives came to my house. I knew something was going on, but I thought, "It can't be anything terrible," because Roger wasn't flying. He was just involved in tests and training. I had never even thought of the possibility that there might be some sort of accident while they were on the ground.
When NASA sent astronaut Mike Collins to our house a little later, I knew it was something terrible. I told him, "Mike, I think I know, but I have to hear it." He said they had been killed. He didn't say exactly what happened. I found that out over the next couple of days through the news reports. Later on NASA sent me a full report of the investigation.
I knew I had to tell my children. By then the security people had arrived, and there were a lot of people at the house. I tried to explain to them that something had happened to their daddy, and he wouldn't be coming home. That was the hardest. I don't think they really knew what death was. I didn't even use the word. It was too final for me at the time. The children cried because I was crying, and that night they slept in my bed.
It was a real long night. I don't think I got much sleep, but when I did I had changed sides of the bed. I don't know if I thought I was going to be closer to Roger by sleeping on his side, but it meant a lot to me at the time. Roger was buried on Jan. 31. After the funeral I slept with the flag that had been draped over his coffin. It was the last thing that was closest to him, and it was a comfort...
For a year I went through all sorts of processes. At first I was afraid of the unknown. My life had changed dramatically overnight; I guess I was scared that sort of thing would happen again. Then I went through a period thinking that no other tragedy could happen to me because it already had. It's a false padding of your feelings, but it happens. The one thing that really got to me was that Roger never made it into space. It was something he wanted to do so much.
There were comforts too. For example, people appreciated that Roger and the others were killed going into new frontiers. I got such moving letters from schoolchildren. My No. 1 help had to be prayer. I prayed out loud, and it calmed me and reinforced things for me. I prayed for strength and for direction. I remember somebody telling me that death was like a little child going to sleep on the couch and his parent going and getting him and putting him in his own bed. I thought it was such a beautiful transition, the Father getting Roger and putting him in his right place. That helped me an awful lot.
So did my family and friends. They just had a sense of knowing when I was down. Sometimes I would be sobbing uncontrollably, and they would help me get those feelings out, and other times they'd distract me. Betty Grissom and Pat White were going through their process. We visited each other on occasion. Knowing that we were going through some of the same emotions was reassuring.
In the wake of the Apollo 1 fire, Congressional investigations were convened. One man who was called upon to testify was Thomas Baron. Baron was a quality control and safety officer for North American Aviation (NAA). In January of 1967 Baron presented a 57 page report to NASA citing discrepancies, failures, and numerous irregularities he had witnessed while working at Kennedy Space Center. NAA managers acknowledged that some of Baron’s concerns had merit, while discounting the majority of what he wrote. Baron, dissatisfied with NASA and NAA’s response to his concerns, leaked the report to the press. He was subsequently fired.
Thomas Baron was called to testify before a Congressional subcommittee investigating the fire. He prepared a 500 page report and delivered it to the committee members where he also provided spoken testimony. The committee members ostensibly determined his report was too lengthy to print as part of their official record. They therefore categorized it as an “exhibit” which did not require it to be entered into the Congressional record. Six days later, Baron, his wife and stepdaughter were all killed in what was reported to be an accident when their automobile was struck by a train at a crossing. Baron’s 500 page report was subsequently “lost” and Congress states to this day that they do not know what happened to it.
At the time Baron gave his testimony to Congress he was questioned by a television reporter about whether there had been any pressure on him by NASA. He responded that both he and his wife had received threats at their home, but the threats had stopped in recent weeks.
Note what is stated in the video above. Thomas Baron testified that the Apollo program was in such disarray that the United States would never make it to the moon. When one Congressman asked Baron if NASA had not had some successes, he responded, “Yes, but not in the Apollo program.”
Consider the contradiction of the testimonies of men like Gus Grissom and Thomas Baron and the image NASA was presenting to the public. Grissom hung a lemon on the Apollo command module simulator and complained that NASA could not even establish reliable radio contact between two or three buildings on the ground. Yet we are to believe that a mere two years later NASA was able to send men to the moon, with perfect communication the entire way, a distance of some 240,000 miles, and even hold a live televised phone call with the American President while they were on the surface of the moon.
At the time of the Apollo 1 tragedy in late 1967 NASA had not sent a man beyond a low earth orbit. They had never had a successful launch of the Saturn V rocket. They had never attempted to dock the lunar module and command module together in space. They had never landed a space vehicle on any planetary surface and then taken off again. They had never tested a spaceship’s or space suit’s ability to heat and cool itself in the temperature extremes of the lunar surface where the temperature varies from 250 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun to -380 degrees at night without any atmosphere (and this magnificent air conditioning had to be battery powered). They had never subjected a human to the intense radiation of the Van Allen Belts.
Yet NASA would have people believe that two years after all of these whistleblowers were silenced they were able to send men to the moon to walk around on its surface, take off again, rendezvous with the lunar orbiter, and fly 240,000 miles back to earth to experience the fiery conditions of reentry and be successfully recovered at sea. Not only this, but they were to repeat this process seven times in a three year span without the loss of a single life. What a disparity there is between the number of astronauts who died prior to the moon missions, in far less perilous environments, and the success and safety of the men who were traveling all the way to the lunar surface and back!
Silencing dissenters is not the only means of hiding the truth from the public. NASA has mysteriously “lost” or destroyed much of the historical evidence relating to the Apollo moon missions, particularly the most famous mission when man supposedly first set foot on the surface of the moon. Much of the evidence demonstrating that NASA faked the moon landings relates to the photographic and video images that were made available to the public as the missions were taking place. Consequently, having access to the clearest and highest quality images is vital to fact checking the veracity of the missions. Following is a summary of what occurred with these “lost” NASA videos.
Search is On For Original Apollo 11 Tapes
NPR July 31, 2006
Almost everyone on the planet who had access to television watched the first moon landing, back on the night of July 20, 1969. What the TV viewers didn't know is that they weren't seeing the best images.
The astronauts actually beamed higher-quality footage back to Earth, but it was only seen by a small number of people at three tracking stations.
Those original images were recorded and put into storage - somewhere. Now, a small crew of retirees, space enthusiasts, and NASA employees are searching for a moon landing that the world has never seen.
Houston, The Image Is Degraded
One of them is Stan Lebar. On that historic night, he was 44 years old and sitting in Houston's Mission Control Center building. His team at Westinghouse Corporation had spent five years designing a TV camera that would work in the harsh lunar environment, and he was waiting to see whether they had pulled it off.
When the lunar module touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, Neil Armstrong radioed in, "Houston, uh, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." Moments later, Mission Control asked Buzz Aldrin to power up the camera: "Buzz, this is Houston, radio check and verify TV circuit-breaker in."
As the camera powered up, Lebar and his colleagues in the TV lab finally saw a signal. It was just a line on a screen, but it meant the camera was working.
"That's when we opened the champagne bottles," he recalls.
As the first images appeared on a screen in Houston's main mission-control room, the flight directors were thrilled. But back in the TV lab, Lebar says the mood had changed.
"What disturbed us is when we saw the imagery, we knew that something had gone wrong," he says.
For hundreds of millions of people watching, the picture was truly amazing; it was, after all, live footage from the moon, some 240,000 miles away. But it was hard to make out what was what in the dark, fuzzy scene. The astronauts' legs were ghostly as they came down the ladder.
"So they were saying, 'This is great!'" recalls Lebar. "And the truth of the matter was, it was being degraded something awful."
Converting the Originals
The images were being degraded because the lunar camera was recording in a format that was incompatible with commercial-television broadcasts. So the footage had to be converted to the right format.
Here's how it worked: The lunar camera was sending images to three tracking stations: Goldstone in California, and Honeysuckle Creek and Pa kes in Australia. At these stations, the original footage could be displayed on a monitor.
To convert the originals, engineers essentially took a commercial television camera and aimed it at the monitor. The resulting image is what was sent to Houston, and on to the world.
"And any time you just point a camera at a screen, that's obviously not the best way to get the best picture," says Richard Nafzger, a TV specialist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. He worked with Apollo's lunar TV program, and says that conversion was the best they could do at the time.
"We're talking 1969. In today's digital world, it's pretty much a relic. But that's what it was," he says.
The original lunar footage did get recorded - onto 14-inch spools of magnetic tape, along with telemetry data. And by 1970, the tapes had made their way to a giant government facility known as the National Records Center in Suitland, Md. Soon after that, records show that NASA brought the tapes to Goddard for "permanent retention."
A Race Against Time
Fast forward to April 2002. Someone who'd worked at one of the Australian tracking stations finds a tape in his garage. He thinks it's a copy he made of the original, high-quality footage. It goes to Building 25 at Goddard Space Flight Center, which houses the Data Evaluation Lab. This lab is full of giant blue cabinets that hold 40-year-old playback machines.
"This is equipment that would process any tapes we find of the original television," says Nafzger, who adds that this lab is the only place left that can play NASA tapes from the Apollo era.
It turned out, the Australian tape wasn't the moonwalk; it was a simulation from 1967. But it made Nafzger and others keen to find the originals.
Unfortunately, no one has been able to. Nothing suggests that the tapes were moved from Goddard or destroyed. Yet there's also no record of where exactly they're supposed to be.
There are numerous problems with this narrative. Since the Westinghouse engineer stated that their camera took far better quality images than he was seeing broadcast on television, why did NASA not release the better quality images which they had on tape? Would it not have been of incredible interest to humanity to view the Apollo moon landings in high resolution rather then the vastly degraded resolution of the original live broadcasts? Why take such valuable tapes and file them away in a warehouse when the world was clamoring for all material related to the moon landings? Broadcast rights to the high definition recordings could have been sold to the media to help defray the cost of the space program.
Secondly, it is inconceivable that the government which spent nearly $40 billion dollars on the Apollo space program would not have given more attention to the quality of the broadcast of humanity’s greatest triumph of exploration. The process they came up with to broadcast the live images was Mickey Mouse. Why record tape at all in a proprietary format incompatible with global media? Why design the system so that the film could only be played back on proprietary equipment which only NASA possessed? Are we to believe that a government that had the capacity to send men to the moon and back could not fit a communication jack onto their broadcast equipment to enable the global media to tap into? The story continues in another NPR broadcast.
Houston, We Erased the Apollo 11 Tapes
NPR July 30, 2009
An exhaustive, three-year search for some tapes that contained the original footage of the Apollo 11 moonwalk has concluded that they were probably destroyed during a period when NASA was erasing old magnetic tapes and reusing them to record satellite data.
"We're all saddened that they're not there. We all wish we had 20-20 hindsight," says Dick Nafzger, a TV specialist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who helped lead the search team.
"I don't think anyone in the NASA organization did anything wrong," Nafzger says. "I think it slipped through the cracks, and nobody's happy about it..."
But the lost tapes mean that the world will probably never again see the original images beamed back to Earth by the lunar camera that is now resting on the moon's dusty Sea of Tranquility, right where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left it...
But, as NPR first reported back in 2006, the tapes were missing - no one had any idea where they were stored. That report helped trigger a massive search by NASA.
"We had hundreds and hundreds of leads coming to us during this period," says Lebar. "Every one of them was investigated."
Lebar and others spent hours and hours in a vast government storage facility known as the Washington National Records Center, a place that Lebar compares to the giant warehouse at the end of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark...
An Unsettling Discovery
They returned again and again to that vast government warehouse. But then they discovered something disturbing.
Over the years, NASA had removed massive numbers of magnetic tapes from the shelves. In the early 1980s alone, tens of thousands of boxes were withdrawn.
It turns out that new satellites had gone up and were producing a lot of data that needed to be recorded. "These satellites were suddenly using tapes seven days a week, 24 hours a day," says Lebar.
And the agency was experiencing a critical shortage of magnetic tapes. So NASA started erasing old ones and reusing them.
That's probably what happened to the original footage from the moon that the astronauts captured with their lunar camera, says Lebar. It was stored on telemetry tapes, and old tapes with telemetry data were being recycled.
"So I don't believe that the tapes exist today at all," says Lebar. "It was a hard thing to accept. But there was just an overwhelming amount of evidence that led us to believe that they just don't exist anymore. And you have to accept reality."
Such an explanation defies credibility. Would you believe it if the government told you they had lost track of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? What if they told you they had a shortage of paper, so they erased these seminal documents and recorded the minutes for some mundane Congressional meetings on them? This is the scale of the immense lie they would like you to believe. The truth is, NASA purposely degraded the original Apollo 11 broadcasts to make it more difficult for people to detect the ruse which was being perpetrated on them. They did not then, nor do they now, want people to have high quality video which can be scrutinized for signs of deception.
The obfuscation of history does not end here, however. America has never had rockets powerful enough to send a manned space ship all the way to the moon and back. Below is an excerpt from The Myth of Apollo (Author Anonymous).
While the Saturn 1 booster was being tested and modified, NASA had arrived at what it believed to be a feasible plan for sending men to the Moon and back. Saturn V would launch into space the following items: three astronauts; one Command Module, containing the astronauts and the instrumentation; one Service Module, attached to the Command Module, carrying life-support systems and fuel for its own engines; one Lunar Module, with two engines and fuel, to carry two men from the Command Module to the Moon's surface and back; another rocket stage and fuel to complete the push out of the Earth's atmosphere; a third rocket stage to deliver the vital Trans Lunar Injection which would accelerate the Command Module and its contents out of Earth's orbit; plus a few other bits and pieces. NASA originally considered using a single craft both to make the journey and land on the Moon, but had calculated that the chosen method delivered a superior fuel to weight ratio and would therefore result in a lower payload overall. Altogether, the package of items weighed in at around 280,000 pounds, just within the projected capacity of the Saturn V...
For comparison purposes, the declared launch mass of the Apollo 8 mission which took place in December, 1968, was 63,650 pounds. This is only 22% of the mass NASA claims to have sent into space one year later. NASA had never demonstrated the ability to send more than a small fraction of the mass of the equipment needed for the lunar missions into space. The Myth of Apollo continues:
The Mercury program had been continuing, running alongside the more ambitious Gemini program, which sent two-man crews into Earth orbit for the first time. These programs used the old Atlas Centaur or the newly recruited Titan, a modified ICBM... In many ways then, the Apollo Program was still on course. It just needed the all-important Saturn 1 rocket, so beset by problems over the previous six years, finally to succeed...
If the Apollo 1 disaster and the unreliability of the Saturn 1 rocket seemed a major setback, the dismal progress of the Saturn V posed an even greater threat to Apollo's success. The Saturn V's awesome power was derived from five separate engines (the F-1), each delivering 1.5 million pounds of thrust, more than an entire Saturn 1. These engines were proving enormously problematic. Indeed Rocketdyne, the company responsible for building them, had not been able to build a single F-1 engine that could reach full power without exploding or becoming uncontrollable. By 1967, the Saturn V had not achieved a single successful launch despite over five years of development.
I believe this problem was so great it effectively made the successful fulfilment of Kennedy's promise impossible. I believe it was this problem that caused NASA, through its inability to admit to failure, to shelve indefinitely its plans to go to the Moon and thereafter focus its efforts simply on convincing the world that it had done so...
Instead of announcing to the world the cancellation of the Apollo Program however, NASA decided on a different strategy. Publicly Apollo would be seen to continue and, ultimately, succeed. Its missions would in reality only go into Earth orbit; evidence that they achieved any more than this would be faked. It was a desperate strategy, fraught with risks. But the political risks of telling the truth were clearly calculated to be much greater....
The mysterious rise and fall of the Saturn V rocket
According to the official account, what happened next was this. NASA took the Saturn V project away from Rocketdyne (the world's foremost rocket engineering company) and handed it over to its own engineers. Under Wernher Von Braun's personal supervision, NASA's in-house team solved, within a matter of months, all the technical problems Rocketdyne had grappled with for over five years. By late 1967 NASA was claiming it had conducted very successful unmanned tests of the Saturn V and that a manned trip to the Moon would be possible within a year.
That, then, is the story of the Saturn V's unprecedented rise to greatness out of the ashes of failure. Despite the USA's short and troubled history in space flight and the lengthy record of failure of both Saturn boosters, NASA somehow conjured up, in little over a year, the biggest, most powerful and most reliable rocket the world had ever seen - and has not seen since. In short, it was the most astounding technological feat mankind has ever achieved, a quantum leap in science and engineering. And for an Apollo project seemingly dead in the water, with less than three years to meet its deadline, the breakthrough was certainly timely, to put it mildly.
If NASA is to be believed, the new Saturn V underwent further rigorous testing throughout most of 1968 and it was found to be almost entirely trouble-free. It worked perfectly. It was scheduled for its first manned flight in December of that year, the Apollo 8 mission. There was however one Apollo mission to complete before then, the October launch of Apollo 7.
On the face of it, Apollo 7 seemed a pretty pointless and redundant exercise. If it were to test the Saturn V rocket in near Earth orbit, before the more ambitious Apollo 8 mission, then that would make sense, but it was not. Apollo 7 did not even use the Saturn V, despite its magnificent test record. Apollo 7 actually sent a three-man crew into orbit on top of a Saturn 1B rocket... It seems then that, despite the fact that the Saturn 1 had never been more than a stop-gap and the true Apollo rocket was now ready for manned flights, NASA was still taking the trouble to test it. Why?
I believe the answer is that the Saturn V rocket did not really exist. I believe its apparent existence was fabricated in 1967 to show the world that the USA had the power to get to the Moon. By this time however, NASA knew full well it wasn't going to the Moon at all; it was merely going to pretend. NASA also realized that if the pretense was to be at all credible, it still needed to get a three-man crew into Earth orbit so that genuine footage of the astronauts in weightless conditions could be shown on TV. The old Atlas Centaur was under-powered and unreliable and in any case was too recognizable. The same went for the Titan. NASA still needed a new rocket, even if the Moon landings were to be faked. And although this rocket didn't have to be hugely powerful compared with the Saturn V (its actual payload being quite modest), it did have to look and sound the business. The Saturn 1B was to be the real rocket to send the Apollo astronauts into orbit. Its appearance was to be modified and it was going to re-emerge as the Saturn V. I believe the purpose of Apollo 7 was to test this rocket, in its undisguised form.
If you still can't believe the Saturn V never existed, take a look at the history of the USA's space program since Apollo. Let us suppose for a minute that everything I am saying is wrong and NASA's version is correct. When the Apollo missions ended in 1972, where did that leave the USA in terms of space exploration? Pretty much top dog, I would say. Though the Apollo project may have come to be seen in retrospect as extravagant and overblown, there were nonetheless immense practical and technological advantages generated along the way. Not least of these was the fabulous Saturn V. Consider again its vital statistics. Its five F-1 engines delivered a mighty 7.6 million pounds of take-off thrust and could lift 300,000 pounds into Earth orbit. Its record of reliability was matchless: ten trouble-free lift-offs and no failures - perfect. It was - and remains - the greatest rocket ever built. Even if NASA never returned to the Moon and brought its ambitions closer to home, the corner-piece of its space program would surely be the Saturn V. If nothing else, it would be ideal for carrying large satellites into space and would therefore have enormous commercial potential, far outstripping any of its rivals for load capacity, reliability and cost. With the Saturn V dwarfing every other rocket built by man, the USA would surely take the opportunity to recoup some of the cost of its space research and cash in on its achievements. Well you'd think so wouldn't you?
What NASA actually did was scrap it. After the Apollo missions, the Saturn V made only one more flight. In 1973 it was used to launch Skylab into orbit. Skylab itself was made out of a section of a Saturn V booster. Then the Saturn became history.
Isn't there something wrong here? What on earth was NASA playing at? It had just sweated blood creating the finest rocket ever seen, giving it almost limitless potential for the future, then decides to scrap it and use its spare parts for a space station! It's comparable to a racehorse owner who, having brought on the finest thoroughbred ever and seen it win every race in its first season, decides the best plan is to turn it into dog-meat.
The official reason given for the Saturn V's demise is this. Even before the Apollo missions finished in 1972, the costs of the whole exercise came under a great deal of public scrutiny and, despite its success and the technological and political benefits gained, the response was not unanimously favorable. There were those who thought the Apollo Project was a massive waste of effort and money when there were more pressing problems closer to home. Prominent among these voices was one William Proxmire, a US Senator from Wisconsin. Proxmire believed his country had no business exploring space and tirelessly denounced it as a ridiculous waste of taxpayers' money. As an influential member of Budget and Space Committees, Proxmire was apparently responsible, almost single-handedly, for determining the drastic curtailment of the USA's space program. He successfully campaigned for the end of the Saturn rocket program and even saw to it that the machinery, dies and tools for building the Saturn V were destroyed. It seems very curious to me that an unknown Senator from Wisconsin should be allowed to scupper a superpower's whole rocket program in this way.
Having scrapped the Saturn V, NASA focused its attention on a brand new rocket system. This was the rocket that would power its next big project, the Space Shuttle, the reusable rocket plane that would fly into space and land back on Earth. Though not as ambitious as Apollo, the Shuttle would certainly need a very powerful rocket system. The size and weight of the Orbiter itself demanded that. Once such a rocket could lift the Orbiter into orbit, all the additional thrust it could achieve would determine its all-important cargo capacity. It was crucial therefore that NASA developed the biggest and most reliable rocket it could.
In 1981, nine years after the last Apollo mission, NASA proudly launched its very first Space Shuttle. Its rockets' statistics were impressive. They developed a massive 6.6 million pounds of thrust at lift-off and could lift 240,000 pounds into orbit. Well done NASA! Unfortunately, most of this was accounted for by the Orbiter itself and cargo capacity was a rather modest 50,000 pounds.
Am I alone in finding it almost incredible that NASA spent almost ten years and billions of dollars developing a rocket whose power and capacity turned out to be 20% less than its predecessor's - a predecessor that had only taken a few months to throw together? Yet this is precisely what NASA would have us believe...
Puzzled scientists have regularly questioned NASA about the Saturn V. It was the greatest rocket ever; why not rebuild it? It would solve all NASA's payload capacity problems overnight. NASA says that the Saturn V would take too long to rebuild. Proxmire after all had ensured that the tools and dies had been destroyed. It says also that the Saturn V wouldn't fit on the new launch pad.
Brothers and sisters, the history of the Apollo Space Program strains credulity. It appears that great effort has been expended to cover up the tracks of a massive hoax. The most valuable video ever created is “accidentally” destroyed, never having been made available for viewing. We are left with only low resolution camera recordings of a degraded image displayed on a television monitor. The most stunning rocket ever built is decommissioned and all of its manufacturing equipment required by Congress to be destroyed after the nation had just poured billions of dollars into its development. Astronauts and other Apollo Space Program employees who were publicly critical of NASA, stating that they would never make it to the moon, died under suspicious circumstances, their testimony silenced, their reports disappeared.
These are what one might expect if a massive illusion was being carried out, an illusion that was immensely profitable to the corporate powers which rule the world.
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