Very cool news this weekend for science dorks and fans of open-source culture of any stripe: Popular Science Magazine’s web arm, , made the entire 137-year history of the magazine available in Google Books, which means you get to see magazines reproduced in their entirety. Sadly, browsing by year isn’t yet available, but we did some searching and discovered this really great article with illustrations about NORAD just before it was finished in 1967.

If you formed your entire conception of what NORAD is like on the inside from the movie War Games, you’re not alone (we did too!). But now you can go inside to learn all about the truly glorious absurdity of its gigantic springs (941 of them made of 3″ wire), its three-story buildings (windowless, of course) and, yes, its giant screen map thingies right when they were being built. Click HERE. (NOTE, if that link doesn’t work for you, click HERE and then enter “NORAD 1965” in the search field).


4 Responses to Tour NORAD in 1967

  1. ROLAND says:

    the hot links above take you to the popular science web site, but no NORAD story.

  2. Noel Black says:

    If the links don’t work for you, paste this link into your browser:

    Then enter “NORAD 1965” in to the search field.

  3. Elaine Brush says:

    How does one get to go on a tour at NORAD??
    I would LOVE to go…….
    Elaine Brush

  4. Buddy Van Doren says:

    Having worked in the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex, I really appreciate KRCC finding this article. The prose in PopSci those days has a slightly quaint sensibility – that’s the first time I ever heard it called a Village – but the story is well told. I have to remark on the comment about the “absurdity” of the springs the building are mounted on – the Complex was a response to the world situation of the time, with ICBMs pointed at us, for which we had no real defense (I worked on the Anti-Ballistic Missile program too, and believe me, an effective ICBM defense is difficult). The NCMC design, including the springs, was very smart, and it would have worked against the missiles that existed at about the time it was finished. The Complex was expensive to maintain: the granite had to be anchored, and the anchors maintained and checked; even so, the seepage was a constant threat.
    The article didn’t fully cover the design of the entrance tunnel, which goes all the way through the mountain. This provides a back entrance, but its most important function was as to eliminate pressure on the blast door, which is located in the side tunnel – the overpressure of a nuclear blast would travel through the entrance and out the back, eserting relatively little pressure on the blast door.
    The primary functions were moved in 2006 to Peterson AFB ( a mistake, in my view – even though it’s expensive to maintain, it is the most defensible and secure facility for hundreds of miles). It’s now an alternate operations center, with an official status of “warm standby.”
    Check the Cheyenne Mountain Wikipedia article for a better sense of the whole period in which it was an active and important part of North America’s defense capability. Its history contains a lot of drama, including multiple false alarms, and an important role in Desert Storm.


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