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article imageDid Yugoslav space technology sold by Tito put America in space?

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By Paul Bradbury     Jan 10, 2012 in Science
The release of a Slovenian documentary, Houston We Have a Problem, alleges a new twist to the the Cold War: American bought a secret Yugoslav space programme to put it in space.
The posting of a documentary trailer by user YugoslavianSpace on January 9, 2012 is offering a rather unusual twist to the Cold War story, more than fifty years after America announced its intention to go to the Moon in May, 1961.
The trailer claims that the full documentary, entitled Houston, We Have a Problem - to be released later this year - will show that the CIA discovered a secret Yugoslav space programme in 1960 and, behind in the space race with the Soviet Union, they bought the entire programme from Yugoslav President Tito in March, 1961, just two months before President John F Kennedy announced America's lunar ambitions.
According to the documentary, the origins of the Yugoslav space programme lay in the writings and work of Herman Potocnik, whose 1929 book Problem Voznje po Vesolju (The Problem of Space Travel) inspired former Nazi and architect of the American space program Wernher von Braun.
What America did not get their hands on were other writings and drawings by Potocnik, and these were found by Tito's secret service in 1947, and they played an important part in the Yugoslav space programme, which was started in 1948.
Living standards in Yugoslavia improved considerably, and the socialist country enjoyed rapid economic development with generous American financial aid.
The trailer claims the documentary will reveal how tito built the biggest secret underground space centre in Europe, and that in fact some of the American rockets were made in Yugoslavia, and that Tito and his wife were regular visitors at NASA's facilities. The base is at Zeljava on the Croatian-Bosnian border, also known as Army Base 505.
The authors of the documentary are Boštjan i Žiga Virc, and the full story will only be revealed with the full documentary, but the trailer is available below.
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