So much of science, or any other belief system, is based on a tiny kernel or seed that took root. Even if the seed is impure, the forest that grows up around it is taken for granted as good and soon you have a huge forest that you cannot remember where it came from. From 9/11 to the dinosaurs to NASA, they all adhere to this basic theme.
And nobody can ever go out and investigate NASA claims around rockets in the vacuum independently of NASA.
Space science is like a cult run by ancient priests who speak to the Gods in private. We’re not supposed to think for ourselves. We only wait until the NASA oracle tells us the great truths divulged only to them. This is not how science, nor modern, information-based, educated society is supposed to function. The goal of education is for us to learn how to figure things out for ourselves; to examine, to evaluate and to reason with the facts and data. What good is that training if, in the end, we can only shut up and believe what we are told with no proof, no solid theory behind it and no way to check the results or repeat their experiments ourselves?
Rocketry is not unique in this regard. Pretty much all the big results in science follow this pattern. Anyone who challenges the status quo is labeled an 220;idiot” or a “religious nut” which is ironic because science is behaving more and more like a religion based on faith and less and less of a method based on observation.