VA: "Fly Rocket Fly: From The Jungle To The Stars" LP
Label: Bureau B
Release Date: 9/7/2018
Long before Elon Musk reached for the stars with his SpaceX project, a Swabian engineer by the name of Lutz Kayser harbored his own childhood dream of a voyage into space. Fly Rocket Fly - Mit Macheten Zu Den Sternen ("To The Stars With Machetes") tells the remarkable story of how he and a dedicated band of Stuttgart engineers founded the world's first private space exploration enterprise: Orbital Transport-und Raketen Aktiengesellschaft, or OTRAG (Orbital Transport and Rockets Inc.). Having enlisted Wernher von Braun as scientific adviser, this early start-up developed a rocket in the late 1960s on the principle of low cost rather than high tech. Windscreen wiper motors were deployed in valve control systems, for example. Kayser's search for a suitable development site led him to African dictator Mobutu Sese Seko who signed off on a deal to allow OTRAG to establish a launch facility in the Congolese jungle. OTRAG built their very own German Cape Canaveral in an area the size of the former GDR, complete with its own butcher's shop and marijuana plantation. They successfully launched several rockets to suborbital altitude before the global political crisis of the mid-1970s put an end to OTRAG's activities. Nobody wanted to see German rockets in the skies over the African jungle (or anywhere else) 30 years after the war -- Fly Rocket Fly is a madcap mix of adventure, political thriller, farce and economic drama -- somewhere between Fitzcarraldo (1982), The Wages of Fear (1953) and Tintin: Explorers On The Moon.