S-4 (Sector Four) is an alleged United States Air Force installation located at Papoose Lake, in the Restricted Area 51. The site came to public attention in 1989 when Bob Lazar stated that he had worked there, studying UFOs. Lazar claims the installation contains nine hangars featuring nine different-shaped crafts.
According to Lazar, S-4 consists of 9 hangers built into a mountain range just off the Papoose Lake bed. The hangars are sloped at 60 degrees and are camouflaged to blend in with the mountainside. S-4 also contains a number of interior shopping areas in addition to the hangars, such as a briefing room, a laboratory, a nurse's office, a restroom and the entrance area.
Although the hangars at S-4 contained 9 extraterrestrial craft, Lazar only had close contact with one such craft, which he nicknamed the "Sports Model". The sizes and shapes of the ET crafts at S-4 varied considerably. The Sports Model had the appearance of a classic flying saucer, while some of the other ET crafts looked like a top hat or a Jello mold.
Personnel working at S-4 would reach the base by first arriving at Groom Lake and then taking a bus to the installation via a very long and winding dirt road. Once the bus reached S-4, the bus would drive the length of the hangars and then park at the entrance area, located at the back of the installation. Lazar claims that at one time Russian scientists worked at the base, but were kicked out.
In 1988, Lazar allegedly sent resumes to various government labs, hoping to get a job in a scientific field. In addition, he also sent a resume to Dr. Edward Teller, who he claims he met in 1982 after a lecture Teller gave (although Teller would later refuse to either confirm or deny if he had ever met Lazar). Shortly after sending out resumes, Lazar claims Teller personally called him and referred him to a man in Las Vegas. Lazar called this contact, and some time after received a phone call to set up an interview.
According to Lazar, he arrived for the interview, impressed the interviewers with his technical knowledge and qualifications, and was hired to work on a propulsion project in an "outer area". He now reported at the EG&G building at McCarran Airport for work, and at EG&G met Dennis Mariani, his soon-to-be supervisor at S-4. Lazar signed a variety of forms in which he agreed to waive his Constitutional rights, and a short time later he and Mariani arrived at S-4.
Lazar claims he worked at S-4 for a period of 6 months, beginning in late 1988 and ending in early 1989. His official job description was a senior staff physicist. Scientists at S-4 worked on the "buddy system"; every scientist was assigned a work partner, and workers could collaborate only with their work partner. Lazar's work partner was a man named Barry Castillo. At first, he claims did little but read briefing reports in the briefing room, which brought him up to speed about the nature of the projects at S-4 and the scope of the historic interaction between extraterrestrials and humans. While reading these reports, Lazar learned that the ET crafts came from the Zeta Reticuli binary star system, and that extraterrestrials have been performing genetic alterations on humans for the past 10,000 years.
He also learned that S-4 was home to three scientific projects: Project Galileo, Project Sidekick and Project Looking Glass. Project Galileo, the project that Lazar worked on, dealt with the propulsion system of the crafts, while Projects Sidekick and Looking Glass dealt with the application of gravity propulsion to the development of a beam weapon and the effects of gravity on the passage of time, respectively.
Upon Lazar's second or third visit to S-4, he noticed that one of the hangar doors were open, and inside the hangar there appeared to be a flying saucer, the "sportmodel". Lazar initially believed that the saucer was built by the US and that it was disguised to look like a alien craft. However, after entering the craft, and realizing that it was too small for humans, it dawned on Lazar that the craft was not of earthly manufacture. He realized that the goal of Project Galileo was not of manufacturing the saucers but rather of back-engineering them.
Lazar learned the basics of how the propulsion system of the sportmodel operated. A 223 gram piece of Element 115 is inserted into the top of a reactor where it is bombarded with protons. Bombarding Element 115 in this way transmutes it to Element 116, which in turn decays and produces two anti-protons in the decay process. The anti-protons are led down a tuned tube and annihilate with a gaseous matter target at the end of the tube. The heat from this reaction is converted into electricity via a near 100% efficient thermoelectric generator. According to Lazar, the strong nuclear force of the Element 115 atom extends just past the perimeter of the atom, which makes it possible to access and amplify this force. Lazar claims that the strong nuclear force is a kind of gravity, which he calls "Gravity A", and that gravity amplifiers located at the bottom level of the craft are able to access and amplify Gravity A, producing an extreme distortion of space-time.
It is this extreme distortion of space-time, according to Lazar, that allows the craft to greatly shorten the distance between the location of the craft and its destination, making interstellar travel feasible.
The physics of the sportmodel's propulsion system has been criticized, most notably by Stanton Friedman, Dr. David L. Morgan, Edward Halerewicz, et al. Dr. Morgan maintains that the antimatter reactor would produce no net energy, since the energy needed to accelerate a proton to the speed necessary to transmute Element 115 to 116 would be equivalent to the energy released by the anti-protons annihilating with the gaseous matter target. Halerewicz observes that an extension of the strong nuclear force beyond the perimeter of the Element 115 atom is forbidden by quantum mechanics. It is also unclear how 223 grams of Element 115 would be sufficient to power the sportmodel. Lazar claims that such a quantity can power the craft for 20 or 30 years at a roughly 100 megawatt load, but simple calculations show that this quantity would be enough to power the disk for a few months at most. The existence of stable isotopes of Element 115 is also questionable, as all currently known isotopes have half lives of 100 ms or less.
During the spring of 1989, Lazar took several of his friends to Groom Lake, where they witnessed a unidentified flying object at the exact time that Lazar claimed it would be there. One of Lazar's friends who saw the UFO, Gene Huff, described it as follows:
The disc came up around the same place but, this time, it staged a breathtaking performance. It repeated moves similar to the week before, but this time it came down the mountain range toward us. At first it seemed far away, then you'd blink and it would seem a lot closer, then you'd blink again and it would seem a LOT closer. It wasn't the same sensation as seeing a set of headlights on a car or landing lights on a jet approach you at night time. There was no sense of continual movement toward you, it just sort of "jumps" toward you and this is very alarming to your brain. Bob explained that this is because of it's [sic] method of propulsion and the way it distorts space/time and light.
The witnessing of the UFO by Lazar's friends is one of the few examples where Lazar's story can be corroborated. Lazar, Huff, and others who witnessed the UFO claim that it was extraterrestrial, while skeptics have proposed more parsimonious explanations, such as unmanned aerial vehicles. Lazar would later take friends to view two more such "test flights" and on the third such excursion were caught by security forces. Security personnel asked for identification, and let them go with a warning.
The next day when Lazar reported to work at EG&G, his supervisor Dennis Mariani informed him that he would not be going to Groom Lake. He and Mariani instead drove to Indian Springs Air Force Base, and during the drive Mariani reprimanded Lazar for bringing friends to view a disk test flight. At Indian Springs, Lazar was debriefed and was told that he and his friends would be arrested for espionage if they ever trespassed on Groom Lake again.
However, bringing his friends to see the test flight was not the only reason his employment at S-4 was terminated. Government agents had discovered that Lazar's wife was having an affair, and feared that once Lazar found out about this it would negatively impact his psychological health. He had the opportunity to apply for employment at S-4 again in 6 to 9 months.
After he lost his job at S-4, he began to be harassed. According to Lazar, his phones were tapped, he was frequently followed, and on one occasion a drive-by shooter made an attempt on his life. Fearing for his safety, Lazar approached George Knapp of KLAS TV in Las Vegas to tell the public about his story. His first interview with Knapp in May 1989 drew international attention.
An MJ-12 document, the "SOM 1-01 Extraterrestrial Entities and Technology, Recovery and Disposal" manual, makes mention of S-4. In it, it stipulates the conditions under which alien artifacts are to be taken to S-4.
Critics claim that "S-4" is most likely a fabrication by Lazar and a corruption of "Site 4", a secret radar testing facility near the Tonopah Test Range.
An investigation into the relationship between the MJ-12 documents and S-4 may shed light on the situation. If the MJ-12 documents including the SOM 1-01 manual are phony, as is believed to be the case by many ufologists and investigators, then this would imply that S-4 does not exist and was simply a fabrication of the hoaxers. However, if the manual is judged to be genuine, then this would imply that S-4 does indeed exist or did at some time in the past.
Sector 4 (S4) was also the title and subject of the 2009 sci-fi spoof, "S4", in which the U.S. government attempted to create alien hybrid super warriors by impregnating combat marines.
Sector 4 was spoofed in Transformers as Sector 7.