I knew when I opened the email from M.D. with the header "Founder of OTRAG the Elon Musk of the 70s" that I'd be blogging about this article, with our deep thanks to M.D. for spotting it and sharing it. The article adds much to the story of OTRAG, the firm Orbital Transport Raketen Aktiengesellschaft, the strange 1970s West German company that set up shop in Zaire to develop cheap private rocket launch capabilities. I've written about this firm in my books, and here it is necessary to note a few things.

The firm, as I noted years ago, was first brought to the attention of the world by none other than Mikhail Gorbachev in the waning days of the Cold War. Mr. Gorbachev was crystal clear in his accusations, for he accused the West German government of essentially operating its own private "Area 51" in Zaire, and developing not only a range of rocket programs, including not only the development of cruise missiles, but also bio-weapons programs, and so on. We'll get back to all this in a moment, because according to the article that M.D. spotted, OTRAG was about nothing more than just the development of cheap, private, space launch vehicles, and its founder, Lutz Kayser, was simply an Elon Musk long before its time:

The German Elon of the 70s

Now of course, the view of OTRAG proffered by Mr. Gorbachev, and by me in my books, was much more sinister than the view proffered in the article, wherein the founder of OTRAG, Lutz Kayser, is portrayed as nothing more than a pioneer engineer and businessman with a novel idea that was way ahead of its time; according to the article

The key to holding down the rocket’s cost lay in three simple design principles, some of which have been rediscovered by the current crop of “NewSpace” companies. The first principle was rooted in the modular platform architecture itself. Building a whole family of launch vehicles around the same tank-and-engine modules simplified the vehicle configuration and saved millions in development costs. It also meant lots of tanks and engines in production, generating both economies of scale and lower prices. SpaceX applies the same design philosophy today: its main rocket, the Falcon 9, employs nine identical engines (plus another one to power the second stage), while the Falcon Heavy uses 27 units of the same engine. This creates a virtuous cycle whereby the operating model helps drive the business model: being the cheapest launch provider in the market translates into a greater number of launch contracts, which in turn drives higher volumes and scale efficiencies. Once this flywheel is in motion, it becomes easier to run the business as it continues to operate.

The second design principle was to use mass produced, commercially available components instead of expensive “space grade” equipment from government contractors. The tank units, for example, were made of long pipeline tubes that were manufactured by the German steelmaker Krupp. Amusingly, a Volkswagen windshield-wiper motor was used to open and close the valves that controlled the propellant flow to the engines. Complex and trouble-prone components, like turbopumps or gimbals, were avoided altogether. Instead, the fuel tanks were partially filled with compressed air that forced the propellant into the engines, and the rocket was steered by throttling back individual engines on the side where less thrust was desired. SpaceX would later use components from existing supply chains as well: The Falcon 1 used readily available car wash valves with modified seals to feed propellant into the engine, while the first Dragon spacecraft utilized a modified bathroom stall latch for securing the cargo lockers.

The third design principle was a simplified rocket engine that could run on extremely low-cost fuels.

So far, so good, but then we learn the following about the company:

The company had another major hurdle to overcome: the 1954 Treaty of Brussels prohibited the launch of long-range missiles on German territory. Kayser began looking for a large, sparsely populated launch site along the equator where the earth’s spin would make it easier to place rockets into orbit. He negotiated with several countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, before eventually settling on a country that could hardly be called politically stable: the Republic of Zaire. In a stunning deal with Zaire’s dictator Mobutu, OTRAG received the exclusive right to lease a vast area of 100,000 km2 (38,000 mi2) for up to 25 years. The territory, on the plateau of Shaba, was roughly the size of the former East Germany (!) and rent-free until the firm became profitable. Zaire’s neighbors immediately rose in an angry chorus, criticizing the deal as a new act of colonization. Their protests were echoed by the Soviet Union, which circulated the unsubstantiated claim that West Germany was using OTRAG as a cover to develop military missiles in Africa. (Emphasis added)

Here things get interesting, for the accusation made by Mr. Gorbachev was much more specific than simply developing "military missiles" in Africa, but rather, that OTRAG was at the center of a covert weapons development including cruise missiles and bio-weapons.  Even the article here hints at something more sinister, and that something sinister is indicated by the basic design concept of Kayser's commercial rocket business plan:

The idea was as simple as it was revolutionary: it involved the parallel clustering of many standard fuel tank and engine modules (Bündelrakete). The smallest flight-worthy rocket module consisted of four clustered tank units and four identical engines. Bigger, more powerful boosters could be constructed by bundling together larger quantities of these tank-and-engine modules.

As I've pointed out in my books on the subject of all-things-Nazi, the idea of Buendelrakete actually stems from the World War Two Nazi rocket program, and was in fact a concept invented to create a crash program of long-range rockets capable of bombardment of strategic targets in Russia and as a basis of an ultra-long range Amerikaraket.

There are other clues that more was going on with OTRAG than simply an innocent attempt to make space launch capability a private - and affordable - affair, for as I've pointed out in my books, OTRAG eventually was able to recruit none other than Dr. Kurt Debus as a member of its board. The article says this:

To bolster his credibility, he recruited Kurt Debus, the former director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and a long-time associate of Wernher von Braun, as chairman of the board. The space community remained doubtful, though, and joked that “asparagus can’t fly.”

What the article is not telling you about Dr. Debus is well known to readers of my books and blogs, namely, that Dr. Debus was the flight director for the Apollo Moon landings, and, much more significantly, was not a rocket scientist or engineer at all, but a plasma physicist who worked on the Nazi Bell project, had been vetted twice by US Army counter-intelligence for his pro-Nazis activities and sympathies, and that, prior to his retirement from NASA, was also the head of NASA's UFO desk, which puts his involvement with OTRAG more in the "Gorbachev" category of presumed activities than it does the "innocent credibility booster" for Lutz Kayser.

There's yet another mention in the article that is worth pondering:

The man behind the rocket-building adventure in the jungle was Lutz Kayser, a German aerospace engineer who was something of a 20th-century Elon Musk. Kayser began pursuing his dream of a low-cost rocket launcher in the 1960s. As a student of rocket pioneer Eugen Sänger, he experimented with new propulsion systems using industrially available components and low-cost fuels. The initial work with Sänger carried over into Kayser’s first startup, Technology Research Ltd., which he founded in 1970. The company received several million Deutschmark in research grants and was hired by the West German government to explore a low-cost alternative to the ailing Europa II rocket program. (Emphasis added)

Now, in case you may not know who Eugen Saenger was - and you would not glean much information from what little is said about him in the article! - Saenger was the man who proposed an orbital rocket space-plane bombardment platform that could, literally, bomb any place in the world, after being launched from, and returning to, Germany. The idea was to launch a rocket-plane which would ascend into the very upper atmosphere, and then literally skip - like a rock skipping on water - on the denser layers of atmosphere beneath it until it reached its target, released its bombs, and then re-entered the atmosphere on its return flight to Germany.

Oh... did  I mention, that Saenger proposed this idea to the Nazi leadership during World War Two, submitted a basic design for his "rocket-plane space shuttle" and even had wind-tunnel test mockup models built for testing in the super-sonic wind tunnels the Nazis had built for such tests?

In other words, with the mention of Debus and Saenger, we have indicators that perhaps, just perhaps, Mr. Gorbachev was right to be warning about the ultimate purposes of the OTRAG venture. And with the Swedish-German Taurus cruise missile that's been in the news lately in the context of the proxy war with Russia through the Ukraine, one has to wonder just where, when, and how those two countries developed such cruise missile technology. While there's absolutely no evidence, I'm smelling a potential OTRAG connection.

So what do we have with the article, and the documentary it is reporting on? I'll just spit it out: what we have is a whitewash, and narrative control...

See you on the flip side...


Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".

No Comments

  1. Michael UK on April 14, 2024 at 4:51 am

    This report covers a lot of the known unknowns about OTRAG. Why would a 6,800ft runway need to be built, unless it was for the import of materials and equipment and export of technology which would not be subject to customs checks nor any scrutiny?

  2. marcos toledo on April 13, 2024 at 10:27 pm

    The story I read I think was in Omni magazine a joint black operation between the US-USSR using a local civil war as a cover to put OTRAG out of business more likely driving this operation deep underground.

  3. TommiH on April 13, 2024 at 7:46 pm

    Oh Lord wow!

  4. Michael UK on April 13, 2024 at 7:11 am

    Joseph and GDS members, it is highly likely and very credible that OTRAG was developing and demonstrating top secret UFO anti gravity technology. There was a notorious sighting and landing in Zimbabwe at Ariel School that is well documented with multiple witnesses and well worth reading the report and watching the excellent film.

  5. Timo Beil on April 12, 2024 at 5:08 pm

    Lutz Kayser’s launching pad was in no way a match to Nellis Air Force Base a.k.a. “Area 51”. He picked Saenger and Debus for marketing reasons, but both quickly ran away, when things got political. This is exactly the point, where the story connects to Dr. Farrel’s books. The American military industrial complex was absolutely not interested in the publicity that OTRAG was aiming for, exactly because they already owned Area 51, why bother with a loose cannon in Africa?

  6. cobo on April 12, 2024 at 2:48 pm

    “the parallel clustering of many standard…” = fascio -no?

  7. rohat77 on April 12, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    Very interesting stuff… What exactly were these “low-cost fuels” they were intending to use for these rockets??

  8. anakephalaiosis on April 12, 2024 at 11:34 am

    An orbital control grid, implemented by an army of bureaucrats, points towards the Vatican, imposing the imperial agenda of the Roman Catholic Church.

    When the dual term Yahweh-Elohim is interpreted, as “gather and choice”, then it spells resistance movement, against tyrants, from the get-go.

    Herod’s suppression against Yahweh continues, as language distortion, in the New Testament, which means, that the Julio-Claudian dynasty is the same agenda.

    Star Trek is Jesuits in space, playing Mozart, until Wesley Crusher disembarks, going native with the faeries.


    • anakephalaiosis on April 12, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      BTW, the dual term Yahweh-Elohim can be approached from various angles, when recognising it, as a cultural trope:

      1. In a metaphorical sense, a year has a ‘woe’, at winter solstice, when it dies and is reborn, and heavenly objects are ‘fire’ balls of weekdays, which is the creation myth.

      2. In a political sense, a ‘yearly truce’ counteracts the unhinged liberty of ‘free will’, which makes up the social contract, that balances the scales of law.

      3. In an epistemic sense, the ‘reasonable’ approach is contrasted, against the ‘logical’ approach, which becomes the principle of logic and reason, in thinking.

      4. In a practical sense, men ‘gather’, to enjoy mirth and merriment, and make their own ‘choices’, by observing their own free will, to change their stars.

      When Yahweh-Elohim is reduced to “Lord thy God” in the New Testament, to comply with an imperial idol, then something is terribly wrong…

      Between Yahweh and Elohim, there is noose, where crazy Jesuits hang.

      The gas pipe killer:

      • anakephalaiosis on April 12, 2024 at 1:18 pm

        BTW, Elohim (plural) is a cognate with Old Norse “eldr”, which means fire. Both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis called their faeries, respectively Eldar and Eldil, which points towards plasma.

        In “Out of the Silent Planet”, Professor Weston embodies the mad scientist, driven by imperialism, in disregard for reason, which triggers a revolt, in the animal kingdom.

  9. Billy Bob on April 12, 2024 at 8:46 am

    Well at least he had backing for a nice retirement and private consulting….


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