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NATO Prepares for War with Russia? Operation "Steadfast Jazz" and the Perpetual Cold War

NATO Prepares for War with Russia? Operation "Steadfast Jazz" and the Perpetual Cold War | Cold War | Scoop.it
The week-long exercise is being held in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as Poland, with the participation of all 28 NATO member countries and other non-NATO countries. It encompasses air, land, maritime, and special forces components, and will involve 6,000 troops. According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, “The purpose of this exercise is to make sure that our rapid-reaction force, the

Via Tatjana Dimitrijevic
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Cold War cartography: Mapping where Soviets could - and could not - go in 1950's America

Cold War cartography: Mapping where Soviets could - and could not - go in 1950's America | Cold War | Scoop.it
Though the Cold War was in full swing, America lifted travel restrictions on Soviet travelers in 1955 to avoid looking like they were themselves behind an Iron Curtain.

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littlebytesnews's curator insight, May 20, 2013 1:15 AM

Interesting, I didn't realize we had these restrictions within the US as well. So much to learn about history still, since they don't teach these things in public indoctrination centers I grew up in.

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The Forgotten Cold War Plan That Put a Ring of Copper Around the Earth | Wired Science

The Forgotten Cold War Plan That Put a Ring of Copper Around the Earth | Wired Science | Cold War | Scoop.it

During the summer of 1963, Earth looked a tiny bit like Saturn.

The same year that Martin Luther King, Jr. marched on Washington and Beatlemania was born, the United States launched half a billion whisker-thin copper wires into orbit in an attempt to install a ring around the Earth. It was called Project West Ford, and it’s a perfect, if odd, example of the Cold War paranoia and military mentality at work in America’s early space program.

 

The Air Force and Department of Defense envisioned the West Ford ring as the largest radio antenna in human history. Its goal was to protect the nation’s long-range communications in the event of an attack from the increasingly belligerent Soviet Union.

 

During the late 1950’s, long-range communications relied on undersea cables or over-the-horizon radio. These were robust, but not invulnerable. Should the Soviets have attacked an undersea telephone or telegraph cable, America would only have been able to rely on radio broadcasts to communicate overseas. But the fidelity of the ionosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that makes most long-range radio broadcasts possible, is at the mercy of the sun: It is routinely disrupted by solar storms. The U.S. military had identified a problem.

 

A potential solution was born in 1958 at MIT’s Lincoln Labs, a research station on Hanscom Air Force Base northwest of Boston. Project Needles, as it was originally known, was Walter E. Morrow’s idea. He suggested that if Earth possessed a permanent radio reflector in the form of an orbiting ring of copper threads, America’s long-range communications would be immune from solar disturbances and out of reach of nefarious Soviet plots.

 

Each copper wire was about 1.8 centimeters in length. This was half the wavelength of the 8 GHz transmission signal beamed from Earth, effectively turning each filament into what is known as a dipole antenna. The antennas would boost long-range radio broadcasts without depending on the fickle ionosphere.

 

Today it’s hard to imagine a time where filling space with millions of tiny metal projectiles was considered a good idea. But West Ford was spawned before men had set foot in space, when generals were in charge of NASA’s rockets, and most satellites and spacecraft hadn’t flown beyond the drafting table. The agency operated under a “Big Sky Theory.” Surely space is so big that the risks of anything crashing into a stray bit of space junk were miniscule compared to the threat of communism.

 

The project was renamed West Ford, for the neighboring town of Westford, Massachusetts. It wasn’t the first, or even the strangest plan to build a global radio reflector. In 1945, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke suggested that Germany’s V2 rocket arsenal could be repurposed to deploy an array of antennas into geostationary orbit around the Earth. So prescient was Clarke’s vision, today’s communications satellites, residing at these fixed points above the planet, are said to reside in “Clarke Orbit”.

 

Meanwhile, American scientists had been attempting to use our own moon as a communications relay, a feat that would finally be accomplished with 1946’s Project Diana. An even more audacious scheme was hatched in the early 1960s from a shiny Mylar egg known as Project Echo, which utilized a pair of microwave reflectors in the form of space-borne metallic balloons.

 

As Project West Ford progressed through development, radio astronomers raised alarm at the ill effects this cloud of metal could have on their ability to survey the stars. Concerns were beginning to arise about the problem of space junk. But beneath these worries was an undercurrent of frustration that a space mission under the banner of national security was not subject to the same transparency as public efforts.

 

The Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences convened a series of classified discussions to address astronomers’ worries, and President Kennedy attempted a compromise in 1961. The White House ensured that West Ford’s needles would be placed in a low orbit, the wires would likely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere within two years, and no further tests would be conducted until the results of the first were fully evaluated. This partially appeased the international astronomy community, but still, no one could guarantee precisely what would happen to twenty kilograms of copper wire dispersed into orbit.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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Features - A band of Korea brothers bids farewell in a Cold War zone @ Thu Apr 11 2013

Features -  A band of Korea brothers bids farewell in a Cold War zone @ Thu Apr 11 2013 | Cold War | Scoop.it
SEOUL, April 11 — The hidden human face of North Korea’s decision to shutter an industrial park it ran with Seoul is its 53,000-strong workforce. At the Kaesong industrial zone, North Korean…

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