NUCLEAR SPACE The postwar military thought only in terms of mass-devastation. The eradication of hostile ideologies through nuclear means. Military viewed large blast craters and the complete annihilation of enemy cities and territories as the single goal of nuclear weaponry. Now however, the global view of nuclear weaponry in the theatre of war had been greatly modified. Precision and definition was the theme now. How to use the nuclear release of energy to best tactical advantage in using nuclear weapons to best advantage was the new thrust, the only reason for such intensive and extensive research. Once the Nuclear EMP method was discerned to be a new and novel tool in warfare, certain advisers began extending their vision of its use to a much larger theatre. Large-scale Nuclear EMP blackouts could be an effective means of blanketing a continent-sized region in critical rimes. For an EMP to have decisive effect during this time, it had to effectively blackout the whole Eastern Hemisphere! US military engineers began examining the possibility that aerial nuclear blasts might provide such a large-scale effect. Military attentions shifted away from nuclear ground blasts and EMP effects, out into space. Testing nuclear weapons in space was the next challenge, the next high frontier.
Because of these new potentials, the sponsorship continued its supplies of capital. This movement of power toward the development of practical safe-nuclear systems betrayed a singular desperation, descried by a few astute observers. Who greatly desired these new developments, and why? The supporting concept providing power to this thrust was simple. It was understood that only the continual pursuit and development of nonnuclear weaponry would ultimately reach such a degree of refinement that a new hightech standard would, in time be reached. A nonnuclear standard. This would effectively demand the dismantling of nuclear weapons, the proliferation and reliance on more decisive nonnuclear systems being the result. At such a point in time and technological development, power could be withdrawn back into the control center. Military would be kept “on hold”, using its weapons potentials only when called upon the achieve new foreign acquisitions. Nevertheless, oligarchs failed to recognize that their acquisition of such foreign lands was always predicated on the demands of new technology. The reason why so many foreign operations had taken ground in Africa was precisely for the uranium resources contained therein. Technology was still enunciating the movements of rulership toward the acquisition of power-amplifying wealth. This is where we are now met in time, a most critical period in geopolitical history which seems to be filled with “peace”. The public dismantling of warheads is but a sign that more pernicious weapons are actually the resource on which military will now depend.
The new Cold War notion of nuclear victory enunciated a theme of non-nuclear warfare. Unlike former military commanders who imagined the routine use of nuclear weaponry in the war theatre, the new emphasis was to refrain from nuclear weaponry at all costs. Backing the force of this restraint was the continual development, sometimes public testing, and industrial proliferation of whole new weapons suites. One new research pursuit which captured the greatest military attention came again as a result of geophysical coupling effects between nuclear detonations and the planet.
The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was an attempt to cool the Cold War among political superpowers. The international cooperative succeeded in producing several astounding discoveries. After examining radiation counts from the Explorer I satellite, Dr. James Van Allen determined the existence of two vast toroidal shells above the earth. Dr. Van Allen described these “radiation belts”, were found surrounding the earth in 1958. They were appropriately named the “Van Allen” Belts. All but those who remembered the words of Nikola Tesla were shocked by the implications of this discovery. Dr. Tesla lectured on his concept of the turbulent vacuum-filling aether, the gaseous atmosphere which constantly bombarded the planet in a dense and continual groundward flood.
According to Dr. Tesla, the bombardments of ultimate particles produced aerial free charges. Tesla predicted that these aerial charges, his “secondary radiations” would be found in specific layers surrounding the earth. Every major newspaper in the nation showed maps of the Belts and school children wrote reports on their dangerous characteristics. The Van Allen Belts were equated with the radiation produced in large particle accelerators. Exposure to the accelerated plasma flux would spell death for any would-be space traveller, a fact well noted by those having such high altitude aspirations. Future space travel would avoid these zones with care. But there were other concerns in connection with this notable rediscovery, and they were military concerns. Particle accelerators bombarded neutral metals with the same kinds of currents as were theoretically found in the Belts. Ordinary metals were converted into radioactive materials by such exposures. Radioactive materials were also dangerously modified by such exposures. Plutonium could be altered in such a way as to produce premature detonations. It was also postulated that the unpredictable nature of solar flares could actually neutralize high-soaring nuclear weapons packages. But why was military so concerned about accelerated charge processes occurring in space at all?
A new breed of payload delivery systems was appearing. ICBM’s would be launched into suborbital or even orbital arcs. This would bring their nuclear payloads into the Van Allen Belts. What indeed would these relativistic particle currents do to plutonium warheads? Would Plutonium retain its fissile character? Would warheads lose their radioactive stability, being self-triggered in some unpredictable manner? Would plutonium become transmuted into a new and unknown element? Neutrons were known to decay in 12 minutes when not bombarded by permeative particles. Would exposure to the Belt currents effect some strange modification? If an accidental nuclear blast occurred in the Van Allen Belts, what would be the geophysical result? Could a nuclear explosion trigger a chain reaction in these Belts, one which would effectively burn them away in a single blast? Only a test could prove the truth or falsehood of these endless concerns.
Two tests preceded the orbital detonation of three separate warheads. The TEAK experiment was detonated at a height of 45 miles directly over Johnston Island in the Mid-Pacific. Auroral skies dominated the hemisphere. Electromagnetic disturbances become total in the shortwave spectra for hours afterward. Encouraged by this test, the second experiment, code-name ORANGE, was rapidly formalized to study effects closer to the ground. This warhead was detonated at a height of only 25 miles directly over the same islands. New auroras developed, but had far less intensity than TEAK, an obvious weak geophysical coupling effect Project ARGUS was formalized in 1958, an experiment designed to test the effects of detonating nuclear warheads in orbit. The test itself constituted a potential international dilemma, the test objective clearly being for wartime application. Theoretical predictions remained uncertain. The effects of an aerial nuclear blast over a hemisphere was no small consideration.
- CHAPTER 3
- CHAPTER 5