a child he watched Fritz Lang's legendary motion picture Woman
in the Moon a dozen times. His genius mind and passionately humanitarian
spirit became enflamed with the determination to develop spaceflight
technologies that would one day open the wider world of space
to mankind...and not just for exploration.
At age 12 he founded a rocket society in his native Germany.
He studied celestial mechanics and nuclear physics at Berlin Technical
University. As a German he was forced to fight the Russians in
World War II under the dictator he most despised. Injured, he
was transferred to the Peenemuende V-2 rocket center where he
was a propulsion engineer from 1942-1945. At war's end he hid
with his wife Ingeborg in the darkness of their Berlin apartment
as Americans and Russians vied for the choice Germans whose scientific
brilliance would one day help launch the United States and the
Soviet Union into space. Krafft wanted to be taken by the Americans.
Dr. Ehricke was to become world famous for his contributions
and his profound understanding of both the technology and philosophical
meaning of space development. In the 1950s at General Dynamics
he helped develop Atlas. He became a General Dynamics Vice President
after inventing Centaur, the first liquid hydrogen propelled upper
stage launch vehicle. Centaur empowered the United States to reach
across the solar system with planetary probes yielding everything
we know today about our closest neighbors.
During the 1970s Dr. Ehricke lead advanced studies at Rockwell
International while working independently to introduce the first
comprehensive concept and rationale for space industrialization
and commercialization. This led to a priceless legacy of studies,
designs, writings and even paintings describing the colonization
of Moon and the development of Earth-Moon space. Dr. Ehricke devoted
his lifetime to advancing the concept of peaceful space exploitation
for the benefit of humanity and worked tirelessly until his last
moments. He is survived by his wife Ingeborg and three daughters,
who founded the nonprofit Krafft A. Ehricke Institute for Space
Development in 1985.
"Man, the cutting edge of terrestrial life, has no rational
alternative but to expand the environmental and resource base
beyond Earth. Global development, therefore, must be based on
an open world concept and include both the development of extraterrestrial
resources and the wiser management of our terrestrial resources.
This is the extraterrestrial imperative, its central goal is the
preservation of the civilization."
--Krafft A. Ehricke , New York Times
"The 21st century will see the planets drawn together
and the complexion of human civilization changed. Space has already
demonstrated that a bountiful future is not possible for mankind
"Herein lies the ultimate greatness of space flight."
--Krafft A. Ehricke , Men Of Space