вторник, 26 марта 2019 г.

The Swiss who takes you to the Moon


NASA – Apollo Program patch.


March 26, 2019


Passionate about the Apollo adventure, this airline pilot met most of his astronauts. He paints an astonishing portrait in a book that comes out this Tuesday.



Image above: Buzz Aldrin and the solar wind experiment which contains, perhaps, as the book suggests, the image of the Swiss flag in its foot. Image Credit: NASA.


This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first step on the moon. But it is also 47 years since no man has visited our satellite. They were twelve in all, all Americans. And if the name of Neil Armstrong, the first of them, remains known in the general public, with sometimes also that Buzz Aldrin, who accompanied him on July 20, 1969, the other ten are much less famous. Not to mention the third man from each mission, the one who remained in lunar orbit.


These names, a Swiss knows them all. Better still, Lukas Viglietti met most of the Apollo astronauts and even managed to forge strong bonds with some, even those belonging to the world’s most exclusive club, the Moon Walkers. An intimacy that allows him to publish today this great book, “Apollo Confidential”.


Born the year of the first step on the Moon


Failing perhaps to be born under a lucky star, Lukas Viglietti was born in 1969, year of the conquest of the Moon. This is perhaps why, as a child fascinated by his brother’s Apollo 11 poster, he reads “Pioneers of the cosmos” published in the Green Library. “But the click happens in 1981, he tells us. My brother Dimitri, who was 18 years old and was much more familiar than I at the time, then took me to a lecture by James Irwin near Tramelan (BE), where we lived. “Listening to this Apollo 15 astronaut, 12-year-old Lukas is fascinated: yes, men have managed the feat of walking on the moon.


This will only confirm his desire to become a pilot. But why not astronaut? “Because I, Tramelan’s kid, I thought it was not for me, that it was out of my reach. I did not have the courage to believe in my dreams. I had a conception of elitist success. Even becoming a pilot at Swissair, I thought it was an impossible dream. But these astronauts who have all had to go through trials that were thought insurmountable for them, inspired me and it was thanks to them that I was able to become captain. “



Image above: Lukas Viglietti with Charlie Duke. Image Credit: Lukas Viglietti.


His entrance into the closed circle of lunar walkers, he will do it by dint of tenacity. He takes advantage of his flights to the United States to get in touch with astronauts. He will see them every time one of them passes through Switzerland. And maybe because he’s a pilot and he’s passionate, it works. He befriends Charlie Duke, Al Worden, Alan Bean or Edgar Mitchell, who becomes his son’s godfather. Swiss astronaut Claude Nicollier is helping him open a few more doors. Günter Wendt, the engineer who was the last face astronauts saw when the capsule door closed on them, will tell Lukas Viglietti about the missions and their secrets. To share these experiences and bring as many astronauts as possible to Switzerland, the child of Tramelan created in 2009, with his wife Bettina, Swiss Apollo including Charlie Duke, the youngest man to have walked the lunar ground, made party today. It is the latter who signs the preface to this “confidential Apollo” whose human dimension he rightly points out.


The Swiss flag on the Moon?


Each chapter of the book tells a mission, from Apollo 11 to Apollo 17. The author begins with an anecdote and then attaches to astronauts, describing the journey that brought them here and their personality. Because everyone had a strong character and these daredevils have made beautiful during and alongside the missions. It’s exciting, well written and reads like a thrilling adventure novel. We discover often endearing characters who, all, have been deeply marked by their adventure. The book contains some surprising revelations. Thus, the first flag on the moon may not be that of the United States but that of Switzerland. Inside the foot of the Helvetic experience on the solar wind, the first deployed by Armstrong and Aldrin even before they plant the stars and stripes, would indeed be engraved the red flag with white cross.


Today, four of the twelve lunar walkers are still alive. Who will be the next to walk on the moon? “It will definitely be a woman,” says Lukas Viglietti, American or Chinese. The Chinese have just put a craft on the hidden side of our satellite, a form of dress rehearsal before an inhabited flight. The professor who gave geology lessons to the Apollo astronauts still teaches in Boston and told me that almost all his students are Chinese. In the culture of China, the moon occupies a very important place and a Chinese or a Chinese woman walking there would be a very strong symbol, not to mention all the political, economic and technological fallout for the country. ” not finished making men dream. And women.



Image above: Claude Nicollier on Twitter: My deepest respect and admiration for these heroes of a magnificent adventure! This superb photo was taken by Felix Kunze – congratulations Felix, a real winner!


Claude Nicollier is also an admirer of the Apollo program. He just posted this message and this photo taken on March 16 from eight of its members still alive, from left to right: Charles Duke (Apollo 16), Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11), Walter Cunningham (Apollo 7), Al Worden (Apollo 15), Rusty Schweickart (Apollo 9), Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17), Michael Collins (Apollo 11) and Fred Haise (Apollo 13).


Related links:


SwissApollo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SWISSAPOLLO/


The book “Apollo Confidentiel” (in French) can be ordered online on this website:
https://www.deboecksuperieur.com/ouvrage/9782807323018-apollo-confidentiel?fbclid=IwAR2b1e_ETNw6lV5mz2_shQeN1zgy0DHM8bOKZA3dQRdry3qi7IzOwEacWAE


Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: Le Matin/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link


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