Spy Satellites

Lead: It was mid-August 1960. In a White House ceremony, President Dwight D. Eisenhower displayed a United States flag that been recovered from an environmental satellite orbiting the earth. He wasn’t exactly telling the whole truth.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: Actually, the flag had been carried into orbit aboard Discoverer XIII and was returned to earth in an ejected capsule which was then recovered from its splash down point northwest of Hawaii by a Navy taskforce. It was the first time an object had been catapulted into earth orbit and brought back without mishap, but this exercise was far more than patriotic chauvinism. The Discoverer program was a ruse, a clever cover-up for a secret reconnaissance operation known as Corona.

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Lost H-Bomb

Lead: In January 1966, at the height of the Cold War, an armed U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed during a routine refueling over the Mediterranean coast of Spain. In the process, it lost a hydrogen bomb.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The giant B-52 was part of the Strategic Air Command’s regular flights to the edge of Soviet air space. Fully loaded, it held four H-bombs, each 100 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. To make such a long trip from the continental United States required refueling, and as it approached the KC-135 jet tanker on January 17, 1966, the bomber accidentally rammed the refueling boom, destroying both planes. Aircraft parts and radioactive debris rained down on the Spanish countryside. Three bombs were recovered, but the United States had to endure the embarrassment that a fourth went missing. It had lost a nuclear bomb somewhere over Spain.

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The History of the Internet – Part III

Lead: In the 1960s, scientists for the defense department began developing a de-centralized and indestructible data network designed to survive a nuclear war. That was the birth of Internet.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Most U.S. military research and development since World War II has been done by universities and contractors such as the RAND Corporation. They worked on everything from missiles to mashed potatoes. One of the jobs assigned to these contractors was to develop a communications system that would keep commanders in touch with units on the battlefield even after the destruction of a nuclear war. The Defense Department also funded this to help researchers share the few supercomputers around at the time. The network first connected four locations in 1969: UCLA, UC-Santa Barbara, Stanford and Utah. Gradually more and more locations, now called nodes, were brought into the Defense research network. By 1977 scientists had sent from a van traveling on a San Francisco freeway computer data over radio, satellite, and landlines 94,000 miles out and back again instantly.

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The History of the Internet – Part II

Lead: As the tiny signals from Sputnik warned of the Soviet Union's growing scientific and military power in 1950s, defense officials in the U.S. raced to protect their ability to communicate. The Internet was born.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Soviet achievement, with its parallel space race and missile gap, gave the scientific research and development work of the Defense Department an alarming urgency. While colleges increased their math and science requirements, the military services created a department devoted to high-tech experiments, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA. It was obvious that to meet the growing Soviet threat, the work of computers had to be made available to units on or close to the battlefield of the future. This was clearly impossible. In the days before the microchip, computers were huge, mainframe devices filled with bulky vacuum tubes and then transistors. Therefore they had to figure a way for portable terminals to communicate with main computers hundreds or thousands of miles away. Existing telephone lines were too unstable. Vital voice or data messages could be interrupted by accident or wartime destruction. The new system had to be virtually indestructible.

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History of the Internet – Part I

Lead: Born of Cold War desperation, the Internet now represents the free-wheeling spirit of the anarchist future.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The excitement generated in the last decade of the twentieth century surrounding the Internet, the world-wide-web of inter-connected businesses, educational institutions, governmental organizations and individuals, who find themselves just one click of the mouse away from each other on has roots that go back to World War II.

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