Did Yugoslav Space Technology Sold by Tito Help Put America in Space?

Total Croatia News

The official trailer for the much-anticipated film about Yugoslavia’s alleged space programme and its sale to President John F. Kennedy was finally released on March 3, 2016, ahead of the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

I first head about the documentary, Houston We Have a Problem, more than four years ago, a movie looking into claims that Tito sold Yugoslav space technology to the Americans in 1961 in exchange for massive aid, and now the film will finally see the light of day, playing in cinemas in May, ahead of a world premiere in New York. Here is what I wrote for Google News four years ago:

“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.”

That original trailer is now private, but another was released a few days ago, as well as an update in information from the official Facebook page:


Houston, We Have a Problem! is a film by young Slovenian director Žiga Virc and it is his debut feature.

In March 1961, Yugoslavia sold its secret space program to USA. Two months later, Kennedy announced USA will go to the Moon.

Houston, We Have a Problem! is a film by young Slovenian director Žiga Virc and it is his debut feature. This docu-fiction is a Slovenian-Croatian-German-Czech-Qatari co-production and it is also the first HBO production in the Adriatic region.
The cold war, the space race, and NASA’s moon landing are landmark events that defined an era. But they are also fodder for conspiracy theories.

In Houston, We Have a Problem! filmmaker Žiga Virc adds new material to the discussion on both fronts. This intriguing docu-fiction explores the myth of the secret multi-billion-dollar deal behind America’s purchase of Yugoslavia’s clandestine space program in the early 1960s.

Follow the latest on the official Houston, We Have a Problem Facebook page.


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