1963 ... here comes Minuteman!

... fearing the Soviet's rapid advancement's in rocketry; the American military vowed a speeded-up development process for our own missile force during the mid and late 1950's. 

Amazing to think that Atlas, Titan and then Minuteman all came into operation within a 3-4 year period. Each one had several follow on developments and all augmented and then improved upon the previous programs. Together with bomber development, submarine launched ICBM's and the growth and complexity of a gigantic infrastructure of command and control; the size of the effort was nothing short of titanic!





 

1964 ... that's a hell'uva set!


... Stanley Kubrick is seen conferring with Peter Sellers (in wheelchair prop) on the 'War-Room' set of 'Dr. Stranglove'. Ken Adams designed the set and is also responsible for some of the best, and most iconic, high tech movie sets of the 1960's. Legend has it that when Pres. Ronald Reagan took office he was disappointed to learn that no such cathedral of Armageddon actually existed. 

 short video on Ken Adams 

 

... photos that go boom!


... being a photographer by trade - I have always been fascinated by the Rapatronic cameras and super hi-speed photography. So - I stumble across this video and in 7 mins my knowledge is doubled!

 

1948 ... fall of modern civilization!



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1953 ... kablooey!


... only movie (until the latest Indiana Jones) where the hoodlums get their just-desserts courtesy of atomic explosion!




 

1955 ... cost minus last cost equals...


... still trying to figure out that slogan!?!


 

1956 ... break apart plane!


... back in the day - engineers were worried about how to eject a pilot from an aircraft traveling at supersonic speed. Conventional wisdom, and unfortunate experience, suggested that the wind-blast would kill, or seriously injure him. So for the next several decades they set about trying to figure out a way to detach the cockpit part, from the fuel and bombs (flaming-explodey) part. None of the designs worked very well and ran counter to the concept of wanting an airplane that did not come apart! Today; pilots that fly really high (U-2) or really fast (SR-71) wear what are essentially spacesuits that are rugged enough to afford decent protection. The fighter jocks don't go supersonic all that often- and if they do; and get a missile up their tail-pipe - then it's the Martin-Baker ejection seat - or the Wiley Coyote finale. So just don't get shot down when you are going fast!


... in the 1950 movie 'Chain Lightning' much of the drama centers arounf developing just exactly that sort of ejection system. (can't think of a less likely casting as Humphrey Bogart as a test pilot) Used to be that you could watch the whole movie on YouTube. But the studio pencil pushers are now too greedy to grab a few more bucks out of a 67 year-old movie!

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1951 ... just fits!



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1955 ... the future is Nuclear!


... ooo - shiny! Model of a nuclear power plant!

... time to put up a Link to 'Our Friend the Atom' from Disney!




 

1957 ... Admiral Rickover descending!


... Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the Nuclear Navy, teeters inside the reactor vessel for the 'USS Nautilus' during a LIFE photo-op.

 

1950's ... giant steel chamber for testing USN reactors!


... damn- that is big! If anyone has anymore info on this please leave it in comments.

 

... B-52's!


... my illustration work.

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1947 ... Flying wing!


... my illustration work: Northrop YB-35 setting up for emergency landing at Chicago.


 

... a Bear's portrait!


... my illustration work: Tu-95 'Bear'


 

1955 ... extra nukes!


... my illustration work - C-124 bringing in extra H-bombs to reload the B-36's at Thule Air Force Base, Greenland.

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1963 ... swabbies load nukes!





... ooo - scary!



... made to snap on over a bomber crew's exisiting helmet and visor this is a system for preventing flash blindness. From the early days of the Strategic Air Command it was anticipated that pilots flying in a nuclear combat arena would be at risk of being temporarily blinded by the intense light of nuclear detonations. Both weapons exploding on targets as well as nuclear tipped SAMs and air-to-air missiles were a hazard. A common early practice was to have the aircrew wear an eye-patch so they had one protected eye in reserve. Pull down shades were a low tech solution which left the crew reliant on instrument flying. The pictured helmet was developed in the 1980's. When sensors detected a sudden rise in ambient light levels the coated lenses would electronically be rendered opaque for several seconds.