TAK – Paul Milford Muller, a retired NASA official who served on the Apollo Navigation Team, was found dead in a house in Tak Province, Thailand, police said.
He was found with a rope tied around his genitals and waist, and another rope around his neck, hanging from a bedroom doorknob. Crystal methamphetamine and several sex toys were found in the room, Police Col. Ekarat Intasueb, chief of the Mae Sot, Thailand, police station, said Tuesday.
Muller appeared to have died from asphyxiation or from a heart attack after a drug overdose, police said. His body had started decomposing and giving off a bad odor. Police suspect he had been dead about three days when his body was found. It was sent to Mae Sot hospital for a postmortem examination.
Muller, 76, who lived in Thailand, worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology and was the author of several books, including “Suicide Inc.,” described on his website as a “romantic and erotic thriller,” the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Paul Muller worked at NASA for more than ten tears and was the co-navigator on the Apollo Navigation Team, whose missions included eight separate lunar landings.
The Apollo mission ran from 1963 – 1972, The program was the third human spaceflight program carried out by NASA, the United States’ civilian space agency which was first conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a three-man spacecraft to follow the one-man Project Mercury which put the first Americans in space.
After that President John F. Kennedy said he wanted Apollo to focus on putting a man on the moon and safely bringing him back to earth.
He told Congress on May 25, 1961: ‘I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.
‘No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.’
The first manned flight of Apollo was in 1968 and it succeeded in landing the first humans on Earth’s Moon from 1969 through 1972.
After Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, with Michael Collins remaining in lunar orbit in the spacecraft, five Apollo missions landed astronauts on the moon after that, the last in 1972. In these six spaceflights, 12 men walked on the Moon.
Apollo set several major human spaceflight milestones. It stands alone in sending manned missions beyond low Earth orbit – Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit another celestial body, while the final Apollo 17 mission marked the sixth Moon landing and the ninth manned mission beyond low Earth orbit.
The program laid the foundation for NASA’s current human spaceflight capability, and funded construction of its Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center. Apollo also spurred advances in many areas of technology incidental to rocketry and manned spaceflight, including avionics, telecommunications, and computers.