According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, Vladimir Putin met deceased astronaut Donald Slayton
It is broadly known that 35 years ago, on 15 July 1975, the first joint U.S./Soviet space project Apollo–Soyuz was launched. Yesterday, this event was celebrated in Moscow, which involved participation of astronauts: Apollo commander Thomas P. Stafford and command module pilot Vance D. Brand.
Yesterday, on 19 July 2010, they visited OAO S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia where they met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. A number of photos can be found at Roscosmos website
For some reason, several media, such as The Komsomolskaya Pravda ("Комсомольская правда") newspaper, confused elderly, but rather energetic Vance D. Brand (who is quite fluent in Russian) and Donald Kent (Deke) Slayton, the docking module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project who died on 13 June 1993 at the age of 69.
As the scan below shows, the newspaper dated 20 July 2010 has misled all its audience, which is claimed to be comprised of 703.779 people, according to the number of printed copies – of course, with the exception of those who had known what Vance looked like.
A scan of the article in The Komsomolskaya Pravda 20 July 2010.
We suppose, Russian Prime Minister would be astonished, should he find out that, according to The Komsomolskaya Pravda, he spoke to a dead man yesterday.
Deke Slayton was born on 1 March 1924 on a farm near Sparta, Wisconsin. He entered the United States Army Air Forces as a cadet in 1942, training as a B-25 bomber pilot. He flew 56 combat missions with the 340th Bombardment Group over Europe during World War II and later flew seven combat missions over Japan in a Douglas A-26 Invader as part of the 319th Bombardment Group. After the war, Slayton earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Minnesota.
Slayton became one of the NACA test pilots at Edwards AFB in California. He tested supersonic Air Force fighters, including the F-101, F-102, F-105, and F-106, and was responsible for determining stall-spin characteristics for the large F-105, which became the principal fighter bomber used by the USAF over North Vietnam.
Upon reporting for duty, he was assigned as maintenance flight test officer of an F-51 squadron located in Minneapolis, followed by 18-months as a technical inspector at Headquarters Twelfth Air Force, and a similar tour as fighter pilot and maintenance office with the 36th Fighter Day Wing at Bitburg, Germany. Returning to the United States in June 1955, he attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He was a test pilot there from January 1956 until April 1959 and participated in the testing of fighter aircraft built for the United States Air Force and some foreign countries.
Slayton was named as one of the Mercury astronauts in April 1959. He was originally scheduled to pilot the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission but was relieved of this assignment due to a heart condition discovered in August 1959. He became Coordinator of Astronaut Activities in September 1962 and was responsible for the operation of the astronaut office.
In November 1963, he resigned his commission as an Air Force Major to assume the role of Director of Flight Crew Operations. In this capacity, he was responsible for directing the activities of the astronaut office, the aircraft operations office, the flight crew integration division, the crew training and simulation division, and the crew procedures division. Slayton was restored to full flight status and certified eligible for manned space flights in March 1972, following a comprehensive review of his medical status by NASA’s Director of Life Sciences and the Federal Aviation Agency.
Slayton made his first space flight as Apollo docking module pilot of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission, July 15-24, 1975—a joint space flight culminating in the first historical meeting in space between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts. Completing the United States flight crew for this 9-day earth-orbital mission were Thomas P. Stafford (Apollo commander) and Vance D. Brand (Apollo command module Pilot). Then he was 51 years old and he was the oldest astronaut at that time.
From December 1975 through November 1977, Slayton served as Manager for Approach and Landing Test Project. He directed the Space Shuttle approach and landing test project through a series of critical orbiter flight tests that allowed in-flight test and checkout of flight controls and orbiter subsystems and permitted extensive evaluations of the orbiter’s subsonic flying qualities and performance characteristics.
He next served as Manager for Orbital Flight Test, directing orbital flight mission preparations and conducting mission operations. He was responsible for OFT operations scheduling, mission configuration control, preflight stack configuration control, as well as conducting planning reviews, mission readiness reviews, and postflight mission evaluations. He was also responsible for the 747/orbiter ferry program.
Slayton retired from NASA in 1982. He was president of Space Services Inc., of Houston, a company he founded to develop rockets for small commercial payloads.
In 1992, Slayton was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He succumbed to the illness on June 13, 1993.