Krafft Arnold Ehricke

Photo posted on Flickr by plusultratech.

Photo from, from the collection of portraits in The International Aerospace Hall of Fame.
 Space Visionary

Born:March 24, 1918, Berlin, Germany
Died:December 11, 1984
Buried:Space Burial


•  Krafft Arnold Ehricke was a rocket-propulsion engineer and advocate for space colonization. - Wikipedia

•  "Ehricke promoted a philosophical concept called the 'Extraterrestrial Imperative.' This idea refers to Ehricke's belief that it was the responsibility of humanity to explore space and exploit the resources of the Solar System, in order to sustain the development of the species. There are no external 'limits to growth,' Ehricke insisted, because while the Earth is a 'closed system,' the exploration of space opens the universe to humanity. For Ehricke, human creativity has no limits." - Wikipedia

•  "Over the course of more than 30 years, Krafft Ehricke laid the philosophical basis for man's exploration of the Solar System, and created exquisitely detailed plans for the human settlement and industrial development of the Moon. In 1957, in his 'Anthropology of Astronautics,' Ehricke proposed that only man places limits on himself; that not only the Earth, but the entire Solar System are man's rightful field of activity; and that by 'expanding through the universe, man fulfills his destiny as an element of life, endowed with the poser of reason and the wisdom of moral law within himself.'" - Benaroya

•  "German-born rocket-propulsion engineer who was the chief designer of the Centaur and who produced many other ideas for the development of space including a space plane design and a strategy for lunar colonization. As a child, he was influenced by Fritz Lang's film Woman in the Moon and formed a rocket society at age 12. He studied celestial mechanics and nuclear physics at Berlin Technical University. Injured during World War II, he was transferred to Peenemünde where he served as a propulsion engineer from 1942 to 1945. Upon moving to the United States, he became an American citizen (1954) and during the 1950s with General Dynamics helped develop the Atlas missile and then the Centaur upper stage. Later, he carried out advanced studies at Rockwell International while also working independently on schemes for the commercialization and colonization of space. His ashes were placed in orbit aboard the first Celestis flight." - The Encyclopedia of Science

•  Husband of Ingelborg
Father of three daughters: Astrid Ehricke, Dotti Neufeld, and Krista Deer
His three daughters found the nonprofit Krafft A. Ehricke Institute for Space Development in 1985. -

•  Krafft Ehricke "departed Huntsville in the early 1950's frustrated at its apparent lack of a space future." - Neufeld

•  Quotes:
     " Man's mind and spirit grow with the space in which they are allowed to operate. "
      "Man, the cutting edge of terrestrial life, has no rational alternative but to expand the environmental and resource base beyond Earth."
      "The concept for space travel carries with it enormous impact, because it challenges man on practically all fronts of his physical and spiritual existence. The idea of traveling to other celestial bodies reflects to the highest degree the independence and agility of the human mind. It lends ultimate dignity to man's technical and scientific endeavors. Above all, it touches on the philosophy of his very existence. As a result, the concept of space travel disregards national borders, refuses to recognize differences of historical or ethnological origin, and penetrates the fiber of one sociological or political creed as fast as that of the next."
      "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.
     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 without it. Herein lies the ultimate greatness of space flight."
      "While civilization is more than a high material living standard, it is nevertheless based on material abundance. It does not thrive on abject poverty or in an atmosphere of resignation and hopelessness. It needs vigor as well as vision. Therefore the end objectives of solar system exploration are social objectives in the sense that they relate to, or are dictated by, present and future human needs."
      "American space exploration is informed by ideas about westward expansion and manifest destiny, this sense that Americans are explorers and pioneers."
      "Man, the cutting edge of terrestrial life, has no rational alternative but to expand the environmental and resource base beyond earth."
      "It has been said, 'If God wanted man to fly, He would have given man wings.' Today we can say, 'If God wanted man to become a spacefaring species, He would have given man a moon.'" - Various Sources

•  "On April 20, 1997, the cremated remains of Ehricke, 'Star Trek' creator Gene Roddenberry, space physicist Gerard K. O'Neill, counterculture guru Timothy Leary, and 20 other fans of space exploration were on board when a Pegasus rocket was launched from a Lockheed L-1011 jetliner 36,000 feet over the Canary Islands. Celestis Inc., a Texas-based company, bought space on the rocket to put into orbit the ashes of 24 'passengers,' each inside a vial the size of a lipstick holder. Each family paid $4,800 for the privilege of having their loved ones' remains launched in canisters into orbit." -

Related Links:

•  Benaroya - Lunar Settlements by Haym Benaroya, &2010', p. 703, Tells of his interest in developing space.

•  Celestis - The Founders Flight

•  Ehricke - The Extraterrestrial Imperative, Air University Review, January-February, 1978, by Dr. Krafft A. Ehricke (Originally found at

•  Encyclopedia Astronautica - Article on Bomi

•  Flickr - Photos

•  Google Images - Possible pictures related to Ehricke

•  Hall of Fame - Photo and short bio

•  Hunley - The Development of Propulsion Technology for U.S. Space-Launch Vehicles, 1926-1991, by J. D. Hunley , © 2007, PP. 175 -88. Background on Ehricke and evolution of the space programs.

• - Biography

•  Jenkins - To Reach the High Frontier: a History of U.S. Launch Vehicles by Dennis R. Jenkins, © 2002, pp. 334-356. Story of the organizational dynamics among the space pioneers (high drama at certain stages).

•  NASA - Liquid Hydrogen as Propulsion Fuel, 1945 - 1959 "Early High-Energy Upper States: Origins of Centaur"

•  Neufeld - Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War by Michael J. Neufeld, © 2007, page 379+. Tells of the clash of engineering cultures between Huntsville's conservative way of doing things and those of Centaur (where Ehricke worked).

•  Smithsonian - His papers are archived at SIRIS

•  Tecnologie de Frontiera - Biographical information (Originally found at

•  The Encyclopedia of Science - Short Bio

•  Wikipedia - Biography