The NORAD phenomenon in Colorado

When I was out there in 1996, I was part of the military and in theory on that basis could have toured the place buried inside Cheyenne Mountain. Just outside of the city limits exists the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), built underneath Cheyenne Mountain. I would joke with people about running up the side of it. They would respond, not jokingly, that I would have been shot if I’d tried.

It’s not hard understand why.

Blast valves, installed in reinforced concrete bulkheads, have been placed in the exhaust and air intake supply, as well as water, fuel, and sewer lines. Sensors at the North and South Portal entrances will detect overpressure waves from a nuclear explosion, causing the valves to close and protect the complex. The buildings in the complex are mounted on 1,319 steel springs, each weighing about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). The springs allow the complex to move 12 inches (30 cm) in any one direction. To make the complex self-sufficient, adequate space in the complex is devoted to support functions. A dining facility, medical facility with dental office, pharmacy and a two-bed ward; two physical fitness centers with exercise equipment and sauna; a small base exchange and barber shop are all located within the complex.

In other words, this place could withstand a nuke from an ICBM and merely rock on its springs. It makes me wonder, in the rogue era of every backwater country having nuclear capabilities, whether I had chased a career into the State Department.

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  1. #1 by meatbrain on June 8, 2009 - 11:15 pm

    And don’t forget — they’ve got one of these under Cheyenne Mountain, too…

  2. #2 by mgordon on June 9, 2009 - 4:08 am

    pffffft…Matthew Broderick didn’t seem to have a problem breaking into that place.

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