11) The Space Race Is The Arms Race

The space race was a series of competitive technology demonstrations between the United States and the Soviet Union…the development of rockets and…the advancements made within each national space program were inexorably tied to the development of nuclear weapons.


I remember being a young child in the early 60’s, caught out in the open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when the sirens blared out the Cuban nuclear bomb warning. I was terrified as I raced home to get under shelter.

I remember being an impressionable teenager in the late 60’s reading about the Viet Nam war on the front page of the newspaper every day. And then we lost to the Communists.

Can you possibly get out of your own mind and life and times and consider how much Communism influenced American emotions in both leadership and civilians desperate to feel safe in the immediate aftermath of the most terrifying war in history during which massively destructive weapons were developed?

The aftermath of World War II saw much of Europe devastated in a way that is now difficult to envision. Approximately 36.5 million Europeans had died in the conflict, 19 million of them civilians.

Refugee camps and rationing dominated daily life. In some areas, infant mortality rates were one in four. Millions of orphans wandered the burnt-out shells of former metropolises. In the German city of Hamburg alone, half a million people were homeless.


In addition, Communists aided by the Soviet Union were threatening elected governments across Europe. In February 1948, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with covert backing from the Soviet Union, overthrew the democratically elected government in that country.

rediceberg_cvr_510The Soviet Supreme leader was an incredibly ambitious man and hoped to expand the Soviet Empire, after the defeat of the Third Reich and the Empire of Japan. Stalin sought to achieve four specific objectives. After the calamity of World War Two, he wanted to ensure the security of the Soviet Union, the expansion of Communism beyond the Soviet Union, secure his position in world affairs and create of a Soviet empire. As he set out to secure each of these goals in the wake of World War two, he laid the foundations for the Cold War.

1952 – the United States tests a nuclear weapon one thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb that had leveled Hiroshima, committing the United States to an arms race with the Soviet Union.

The newly formed US National Security Council releases NSC-68, a secret policy paper calling for massively increased military spending to counter the Soviet Union’s stated planned takeover of America along with the rest of the world, establishing a state of fear of a nuclear apocalypse and willingness to blindly fund secret spending by the Department of Defense, CIA, and National Security Agency.

In 2015 military spending, much of it secret, was budgeted at $59 billion.
A  Blueprint for World War III: NATO’s Plan to Crush the Soviet Union in Battle


Even before the guns fell silent in Europe in 1945, it became apparent to American and British planners that the Soviet Union would hold a massive advantage in land power along the Central front. In the early post-war years, Western planners hoped that nuclear weapons would keep the Soviets at bay. As the USSR’s own missile and nuclear programs accelerated, however, it became apparent that NATO (which came into existence in 1949) would need to come to some understanding of how to fight Warsaw Pact forces.

The Nuclear Option

During the 1950s and 1960s, NATO and the Warsaw Pact agreed about two things regarding combat on the Central front.

First, Warsaw Pact forces would quickly overrun NATO forces, achieving rates of advance across Western Europe that exceeded even those of World War II.

Second, both NATO and the Warsaw Pact would make plentiful use of tactical nuclear weapons, both to break up enemy formations and also to pave the way for advancing forces…

The Rise and Fall of Active Defense

The Yom Kippur War [1973] saw the first extensive use of precision-guided munitions in combat between conventional armies. The results were devastating…Active Defense envisioned funneling Soviet armored spearheads into semi-stationary blocking positions, where increasingly lethal precision-guided munitions would tear them to pieces.

The Rise of AirLand Battle

First published in 1982, and further developed in 1986, AirLand Battleenvisioned waves of attacks deep behind Warsaw Pact lines, targeting logistical and communications hubs. These attacks, using precision-guided munitions at stand-off ranges, would disrupt the guts of the Soviet offensive.

What do precision-guided munitions have to do with the space race?

Everything. Check out Google Earth on your cell phone.

Space is a battleground for dominance among major powers. About a fifth of all satellites belong to the military and are used for spying.

the Union of Concerned Scientists monitors satellite activity and…America’s 154 military satellites, and…others listed as “military / civil” or “military / government,”…means, if you count them all together, there are between 339 and 485 military satellites in total…

Russia is known to have 71 military satellites, and China 63.

How many in reality, who knows.

Creating a timeline of significant events is helpful for determining where we’re at today in space.

1946 – WWII Nazi rocket science seized as spoils of war by winners Russia and the US  permits the existing concept of a space-based telescope to be studied for practical implementation.

1956 – President Eisenhower initiated the secret Corona satellite reconnaissance program managed jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US Air Force (USAF), as a concerted response to several significant Soviet advances in space technologies…

1958 – the DoD transferred the program to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the same agency responsible for helping create DARPANET- the forerunner of the Internet…The primary goal of the program was to…assess how rapidly the Soviet Union was producing long-range bombers and ballistic missiles and where they were being deployed, and to take photos over the Sino-Soviet bloc…The goal of the program was not revealed to the public at the time; it was presented as a program…to test satellite subsystems and investigate the communication and environmental aspects of placing humans in space…In all, 38 Discoverer satellites were launched by February 1962, although the satellite reconnaissance program continued until 1972 as the CORONA project. The program documents were declassified in 1995.”

The Intelligence Community is made up of 18 elements that each focus on a different aspect of our common mission:

Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence and Command, Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Department of State Office of Intelligence and Research, Department of Treasury Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Drug Enforcement Administration Intelligence Program, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency, Office of Naval Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence, U.S. Space Force.

The Intelligence Community’s mission is to collect, analyze, and deliver foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to America’s leaders so they can make sound decisions to protect our country. Our customers include the president, policy-makers, law enforcement, and the military.

Note, the public are not among their customers.

When the President needs the latest intelligence analysis, he reviews the President’s Daily Brief. When the public needs information, they can rely on the Public’s Daily Brief.

How much the public can “rely on” our version of intelligence news in real time for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth can be assessed by scanning these few declassified projects listed.  

1957 – The Soviet Union sent the first satellite to space with Sputnik 1 reaching an altitude of 583 miles.

1958 – The United States created NASA and, based on disturbingly high radioactive readings from earth, launched the first Explorer 1,563 miles high to investigate. They found radiation so intense that at first scientists thought they might be recording a Soviet nuclear test.

This intense radiation turned out to be originating from a natural feature in space – the Van Allen Belts.

It wasn’t until 2012 that NASA had the capability of sending probes into the Van Allen Belts to determine the details of this monstrous hazard, but in the meantime NASA forged ahead with initiating Project Mercury to put the first man into space

the Van Allen Probes transformed our understanding of the particle radiation environment close to Earth during their seven-year mission [2012-2021], notably showing how quickly it swings from tepid to extreme…

More than 3,000 operational satellites currently orbit Earth, the majority of them aerospace company “mega-constellations” in low Earth orbit (LEO), some 300-1,250 miles (500-2,000 kilometers) high. By 2030, we could see as many as 50,000 satellites surrounding Earth and more astronauts in space than ever before.

Remember, as detailed in the previous post, “astronauts in space” only need to go over 60 miles above earth.

With the Van Allen Probes gone, “we are now blind to the most dangerous manifestations of near-Earth particle radiation…”

[What is needed is] a constellation of more than 10 satellites like the Van Allen Probes…within low Earth orbit distances…along with ground-based operations…

for unknown reasons, the solar cycle during which the Van Allen Probes operated was the weakest in a century. “So, if [sounds more like when] we have a stronger solar cycle, we can’t extrapolate the Van Allen Probes’ measurements to it.”

High-energy electrons, protons and cosmic rays break down solar cells, discolor camera lens glass and coatings, degrade insulation materials, and fry electronics…

“Radiation affects pretty much every part of a spacecraft in one way or another,”

But we still know little about how the whole slew of charged particles in space interact with spacecraft because the radiation environment can change quickly and randomly, and the drivers that cause those changes are complex, mostly unpredictable and impossible to simulate perfectly.

“There’s just no facility on Earth that has anywhere near the ability to reproduce the range of particles and radiation intensities that we have in space,” Turner said.

Until the Large Hadron Collider, that is, conceived in the early 1980’s, construction begun in 1998, up and running in 2008.

The way around that is by doing active experiments in space…

Is it possible that the world’s governments aren’t telling us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Is it possible that the active experiments in space are to achieve other goals?

One goal is frankly stated – gaining control over the barrier reef of the Van Allen Belts’ radiation.

It’s vital to do so, the researchers said. While the most robustly engineered satellites (including the Van Allen Probes) can last from 5 to 15 years, a lot of satellites being sent up…won’t last much more than a year or two. With too many lifeless satellites zipping around the globe, inadvertent collisions are possible, producing space debris that could start a cascade of destroyed spacecraft.


1959 – The United States created the secret National Reconnaissance Office / NRO in the U.S. Department of Defense, funded through the National Intelligence Program (NIP) and the Military Intelligence Program (MIP), to design, build, launch, and maintain America’s intelligence satellites. The existence of NRO and its mission were not declassified until 1992. 

1961 – First prize goes to…Russia! Cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin reached 187 miles in altitude and completed a single orbit around the Earth. A month later American astronaut Alan Shepard  was rocketed skyward but only to 116 miles and plummeted right back to earth.

1961 – In his farewell address, President Eisenhower, unable to slow the arms race, warned of the dangers posed by the growing influence of the “military-industrial complex.

1962 – Beat by the Russians again! In February John Glen became the first American to orbit around the earth, completing 3 orbits in 5 hours. In August cosmonaut Gherman Titov made 17 orbits and spent more than 25 hours in space.

1962 – The first communications satellite, Syncom II, is used for U.S. military communications.

1963 – Director of CIA created the Panel for Future Satellite Reconnaissance Operations, to be briefed on the various technologies that people in the optics field – that would be telescopes of course – believed could have a major impact on the development of reconnaissance satellites. 

1963 – 1971 – GAMBIT 1, GAMBIT 3 and the HEXAGON system satellites became America’s eyes in space. The declassification of GAMBIT and HEXAGON was announced on 9/17/2011. I think we can all agree that this was announced more to America’s enemies during the response to 9/11/2011 than to the American public. But one does have to wonder, how did a terrorist attack get past all the intel received by all the intelligence agencies staffed by the U.S?

1963 – 1969 – “The U.S. Air Force’s MOL [Manned Orbiting Laboratory] programspent $1.56 billion…“Is the MOL a laboratory?” reads one of the newly released [declassified] documents. “Or is it an operational reconnaissance spacecraft? (Or a bomber?)” Even today, aspects of the MOL initiative remain secret with a superpowerful camera system…the historical documents suggest numerous other jobs were on the MOL docket, including the use of side-looking radar, the evaluation of electronic intelligence-gathering gear and the assembly and servicing of large structures in space…“negation missiles”…the inspection of satellites, and the encapsulation and recovery of enemy spacecraft…using rocket-propelled net devices.

Visible image - Click to enlarge1964 – First geo-stationary communication satellite (GOES), Syncom 3, used by weather satellites. These provide continuous visible images of the same area on Earth 24 hours a day by hovering over a single point above the Earth reportedly at an altitude of about 322,000 miles, i.e. 1/10 of the distance to the moon.

This is well beyond the Van Allen Belts’ most intense area of radiation, between about 9,000-12,000 miles above Earth’s surface. How did the first satellites make it through?

1968 – The most tenacious anti-war movement in U.S. history forces an end to U.S. combat operations against Communist forces in Vietnam and a suspension of the draft. The National Academy of Sciences publishes “Scientific [clearly as opposed to Military] Uses of the Large Space Telescope.”

1969 – The KH-10 DORIAN, a massive reconnaissance camera being developed for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory was terminated after accumulating costs of $8 billion in today’s dollars, with still more funding and years of development before operation. Six mirrors up to 8 feet across were mothballed. 

Why would any intelligent person unquestionably believe a government known for lying to the public, specifically during this era?

Rather than shout down conspiracy theorists, we should be grateful for those who question if the most powerful government in history is being honest.

Remember Woodward and Bernstein in the same era? No?

On June 18, 1972, a Washington Post front page story reported the previous day’s break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s office in the Watergate complex in Washington, DC….The White House dismissed the crime as a “third-rate burglary,” and much of the nation’s media soon dropped interest in what some jokingly referred to as “the Watergate caper.” But two of the reporters who worked on that first Washington Post story, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, continued tracking down sources and pursuing leads on what became the biggest story of twentieth-century American politics…[leading to] Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974

Surely a military-run government agency like NASA wouldn’t cover up what they’re really doing by deliberately leaking false information to the media? Surely red-blooded patriotic Americans wouldn’t lie!

Using our common sense, the exact opposite argument is more credible. It was their patriotism during the Red Scare that drove many Americans to conspire with American government agents in the Cold War.

Spreading misinformation to gain a military advantage is a common strategy.

plakatIn the early 1950s, American leaders repeatedly told the public that they should be fearful of subversive Communist influence in their lives…lurking anywhere…to aid the program of world Communist domination… between 1950 and 1954…Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin…launched a series of highly publicized probes into alleged Communist penetration of the State Department, the White House, the Treasury, and even the US Army…No one dared tangle with McCarthy for fear of being labeled disloyal. How easy was it to reassure a panicky American public that we achieved supremacy over the Communists through a Wizard of Oz magic show?

The Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission were thorough in their visual documentation…Dozens of photography and cinematography units were dispatched to various locations around the world, armed with almost every available type of still and film camera, in order to capture imagery that could be analyzed and used both for scientific and public-relations and storytelling purposes—the diagnostic and the documentary. For over two decades, the United States Air Force even operated a “secret,” 100,000-square-foot film studio in Los Angeles’s Laurel Canyon. At “Lookout Mountain,” teams of Hollywood craftspeople photographed, processed, edited, screened, and distributed images that ended up in everything from LIFE magazine photo spreads to newsreels and tourist postcards.

The penultimate rocket scientist Werner von Braun worked with Walt Disney on a series of films.

Together, von Braun (the engineer) and Disney (the artist) used the new medium of television to illustrate how high man might fly on the strength of technology and the spirit of human imagination…Disney personally introduced the first television show, “Man in Space,” which aired on ABC on March 9, 1955. The objective, he said, was to combine “the tools of our trade with the knowledge of the scientists to give a factual picture of the latest plans for man’s newest adventure…” But it also relied on Disney’s trademark animation techniques…

Von Braun’s official duties for the Army often took him to the West Coast to meet with Jupiter and Redstone contractors. After the meetings, he and Stuhlinger would go to the Disney studios where they would work into the morning hours with the artists and producers.

Then there was the American Espionage Act.

on June 15, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill into law. Officially titled “An act to punish acts of interference with the foreign relations, the neutrality and the foreign commerce of the United States, to punish espionage, and better to enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and for other purposes,” the law is more commonly known as the Espionage Act of 1917…

in the century after it became law, as its vague language about foreign espionage was re-interpreted as a broad prohibition against the activities of anti-war activists, whistleblowers and journalists…

The law — which remains on the books to this day, as Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 37 of the U.S. Code…outlaws the disclosure of any “information, documents or other articles relating to security or intelligence.”

the Espionage Act doesn’t just apply to government employees who violate their security clearances by providing sensitive national security information to foreign spies; it applies to any person who learns of such information and then communicates it to any other person.

We are talking military secrets here, aren’t we? 

The argument is made that too many people were involved in the space program to keep the space-program-is-really-a-military-program a secret. How can the American government keep all this secret when so many people are involved in working it out?!

To answer that question, let’s review an actual, true, real-life occasion of just exactly this governmental top-secret militaristic research and development program.

Here’s a look at are some of the secret, lethal weapons the Nazis created during World War II:

The Horten Ho 229 bomber was…the world’s first stealth aircraft and took its first flight in 1944…the bomber’s engineering did inspire today’s modern stealth aircraft — like the Northrop Gruman B-2 bomber.

Considered the “grandfather of smart bombs,” the Fritz X was a 3,450-pound explosive equipped with a radio receiver and sophisticated tail controls that helped guide the bomb to its target. According to the US Air Force, the Fritz X could penetrate 28 inches of armor and could be deployed from 20,000 feet, an altitude out of reach for antiaircraft equipment at the time. Less than a month after it was developed, the Nazis sank Italian battleship Roma off Sardinia in September 1943…

Known as the “Doodlebug” by US troops, the mini-tank was controlled with a joystick…designed to carry between 133 and 220 pounds of high explosives…used to navigate minefields and deliver its explosive payload to defensive positions. The Nazis built more than 7,000 Goliaths during the war and paved the way for radio-controlled weapons.

By the late 1930s, the Germans were developing the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, a rocket-powered jet with speeds of up to 700 mph…the vaunted American P-51 Mustang fighter, in comparison, topped out at less than 440 mph…More than 300 Komets were built and equipped with twin 30 mm cannons.

The German V-2 rocket was the world’s first large-scale liquid-propellant rocket vehicle,the first long-range ballistic missile, and the ancestor of today’s large rockets and launch vehicles. Over 10,000 concentration camp prisoners died in their creation. The rockets were 76 feet tall, streaked through the skies faster than the speed of sound to targets over 200 miles away carrying over a ton of explosives. More than 3,000 V-2 rockets delivered explosives that demolished European cities in the months before the end of the war.

German physicists were the first to split the atom in 1938 and begin developing the atomic bomb. Despite desperate efforts by the British, American and Russians who sent covert teams of commandoes deep into German territory, the German weaponry remained secret until the end of the war.

From nerve and disease agents to the feared and coveted V-1 and V-2 rockets, Nazi scientists worked on an impressive arsenal... 

In the days and weeks after Germany’s surrender, American troops combed the European countryside in search of hidden caches of weaponry to collect. They came across facets of the Nazi war machine that the top brass were shocked to see…

“They had no idea that Hitler was working on…suddenly the Pentagon realizing, ‘Wait a minute, we need these weapons for ourselves…’”

American and British organizations teamed up to scour occupied Germany for as much military, scientific and technological development research as they could uncover…

In a covert affair…named Operation Paperclip, roughly 1,600 of these German scientists (along with their families) were brought to the United States to work on America’s behalf during the Cold War. The program was run by the newly-formed Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), whose goal was to harness German intellectual resources to help develop America’s arsenal of rockets and other biological and chemical weapons…

Operation Paperclip was top secret at the time…Even agents with the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which the U.S. government tasked with hunting down top Nazi officers who went on the lam after the war, were unaware for decades of the extent to which government officials were collaborating with their quarry…

Wernher von Braun was a member of the Nazi Party and Allgemeine SS, as well as the leading figure in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany. He helped design and co-developed the V-2 rocket at Peenemünde during World War II.

Following the war, he was secretly moved to the United States, along with about 1,600 other German scientists, engineers, and technicians, as part of Operation Paperclip

In 1960, his group was assimilated into NASA, where he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V super heavy-lift launch vehicle that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon.  In 1967, von Braun was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, and in 1975, he received the National Medal of Science.

Von Braun is widely seen as either the “father of space travel”, “father of rocket science” or “father of the American lunar program”.

Still think the American government 1) couldn’t or 2) wouldn’t keep secrets from its democratic population?

For decades, the nuclear balance between the U.S. and Russia has depended on neither side having the capability to launch a successful first strike. If China is now trying to develop a first-strike capability, that balance would be in jeopardy.

China’s round-the-world hypersonic test…on July 27…has been compared to the moment in 1957…when Moscow launched the Sputnik satellite, becoming the first nation into space and catching the U.S. by surprise.  

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