Topic: Cold War
Blue Peacock, renamed from Blue Bunny and originally Brown Bunny, was a British tactical nuclear weapon project in the 1950s.
The project's goal was to store a number of ten-kiloton nuclear mines in Germany, to be placed on the North German Plain and, in the event of Soviet invasion from the east, detonated by wire or an eight-day timer to:
... not only destroy facilities and installations over a large area, but ... deny occupation of the area to an enemy for an appreciable time due to contamination ...
- "Blue Peacock" | 2019-09-23 | 56 Upvotes 8 Comments
The Corona program was a series of American strategic reconnaissance satellites produced and operated by the Central Intelligence Agency Directorate of Science & Technology with substantial assistance from the U.S. Air Force. The Corona satellites were used for photographic surveillance of the Soviet Union (USSR), the People's Republic of China, and other areas beginning in June 1959 and ending in May 1972.
- "Corona reconnaissance satellites" | 2015-11-13 | 26 Upvotes 4 Comments
The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technical advances. The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and the Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight, assessed in January of each year. The main factors influencing the Clock are nuclear risk and global warming (climate change). The Bulletin's Science and Security Board also monitors new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.
The Clock's original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward 24 times since then, the largest-ever number of minutes to midnight being 17 (in 1991), and the smallest 100 seconds (1 minute and 40 seconds) in January 2020.
The clock was set at two minutes to midnight in January 2018, and left unchanged in 2019 due to the twin threats of nuclear weapons and the increasing effects of global warming. On 23 January 2020, it was moved forward to 100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds) before midnight, based on the increased threats to global stability posed by "a nuclear blunder", exacerbated by the rate of climate change.
- "Doomsday Clock at the shortest distance to midnight ever" | 2020-03-04 | 26 Upvotes 30 Comments
In-Q-Tel (IQT), formerly Peleus and In-Q-It, is an American not-for-profit venture capital firm based in Arlington, Virginia. It invests in high-tech companies for the sole purpose of keeping the Central Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies, equipped with the latest in information technology in support of United States intelligence capability. The name, "In-Q-Tel" is an intentional reference to Q, the fictional inventor who supplies technology to James Bond.
The firm is seen as a trend-setter in the information technology industry, with the average dollar invested by In-Q-Tel in 2012 attracting nine dollars of investment from other companies.
- "In-Q-Tel" | 2013-06-16 | 12 Upvotes 3 Comments
The Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL), originally referred to as the Manned Orbital Laboratory, was a never-flown part of the United States Air Force's human spaceflight program, a successor to the canceled Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar military reconnaissance space plane project. The project was developed from several early Air Force and NASA concepts of crewed space stations to be used for reconnaissance purposes. MOL evolved into a single-use laboratory, with which crews would be launched on 40-day missions and return to Earth using a Gemini B spacecraft, derived from NASA's Project Gemini.
The MOL program was announced to the public on 10 December 1963 as an inhabited platform to prove the utility of putting people in space for military missions. Astronauts selected for the program were later told of the reconnaissance mission for the program. The contractor for the MOL was the Douglas Aircraft Company. The Gemini B was externally similar to NASA's Gemini spacecraft, although it underwent several modifications, including the addition of a circular hatch through the heat shield, which allowed passage between the spacecraft and the laboratory.
MOL was canceled in 1969, during the height of the Apollo program, when it was shown that uncrewed reconnaissance satellites could achieve the same objectives much more cost-effectively. U.S. space station development was instead pursued with the civilian NASA Skylab (Apollo Applications Program) which flew in the mid-1970s.
In the 1970s, the Soviet Union launched three Almaz military space stations, similar in intent to the MOL, but cancelled the program in 1977 for the same reasons.
There is a MOL space suit on display at the Oklahoma City Science Museum, presumably never used.
- "Manned Orbiting Laboratory" | 2019-06-05 | 12 Upvotes 4 Comments
Operation Ivy Bells was a joint United States Navy, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and National Security Agency (NSA) mission whose objective was to place wire taps on Soviet underwater communication lines during the Cold War.
- "Operation Ivy Bells" | 2018-05-07 | 98 Upvotes 31 Comments
Operation Northwoods was a proposed false flag operation against the Cuban government that originated within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States government in 1962. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other U.S. government operatives to both stage and actually commit acts of terrorism against American military and civilian targets, blaming them on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The possibilities detailed in the document included the possible assassination of Cuban immigrants, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes to be shot down or given the appearance of being shot down, blowing up a U.S. ship, and orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The proposals were rejected by President John F. Kennedy.
Communists led by Fidel Castro had taken power in Cuba in 1959, which aroused the concern of the U.S. military due to the Cold War. The operation proposed creating public support for a war against Cuba by blaming it for terrorist acts that would actually be perpetrated by the U.S. Government. To this end, Operation Northwoods proposals recommended hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate the Cuban government. It stated:
The desired result from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.
Several other proposals were included within Operation Northwoods, including real or simulated actions against various U.S. military and civilian targets. The operation recommended developing a "Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington".
The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to the Secretary of Defense. Although part of the U.S. government's anti-communist Cuban Project, Operation Northwoods was never officially accepted; it was authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but then rejected by President John F. Kennedy. According to currently released documentation, none of the operations became active under the auspices of the Operation Northwoods proposals.
- "Operation Northwoods" | 2019-09-01 | 82 Upvotes 35 Comments
Project A119, also known as A Study of Lunar Research Flights, was a top-secret plan developed in 1958 by the United States Air Force. The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon, which would help in answering some of the mysteries in planetary astronomy and astrogeology. If the explosive device detonated on the surface, not in a lunar crater, the flash of explosive light would have been faintly visible to people on Earth with their naked eye, a show of force resulting in a possible boosting of domestic morale in the capabilities of the United States, a boost that was needed after the Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race and was also working on a similar project.
The project was never carried out, being cancelled primarily out of a fear of a negative public reaction, with the potential militarization of space that it would also have signified, and because a Moon landing would undoubtedly be a more popular achievement in the eyes of the American and international public alike. A similar project by the Soviet Union also never came to fruition.
The existence of the US project was revealed in 2000 by a former executive at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Leonard Reiffel, who led the project in 1958. A young Carl Sagan was part of the team responsible for predicting the effects of a nuclear explosion in vacuum and low gravity and in evaluating the scientific value of the project. The project documents remained secret for nearly 45 years, and despite Reiffel's revelations, the United States government has never officially recognized its involvement in the study.
Project West Ford (also known as Westford Needles and Project Needles) was a test carried out by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory on behalf of the United States Military in 1961 and 1963 to create an artificial ionosphere above the Earth. This was done to solve a major weakness that had been identified in US military communications.
Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станисла́в Евгра́фович Петро́в; 7 September 1939 – 19 May 2017) was a lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces who played a key role in the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident. On 26 September 1983, three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm, and his decision to disobey orders, against Soviet military protocol, is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the Soviet satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned.
- "Happy Petrov day" | 2013-09-26 | 138 Upvotes 30 Comments