The Rocky Mountain State is home to delicious craft beer and wonderful scenic ski slopes. Thankfully though, it also has the largest concentration of Space Warfare facilities in America, because skiing is for pussies and space-nukes are cool.
Colorado's also the setting for that 1983 Cold War classic, Wargames, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. So, in honor of narrowly escaping global thermonuclear war, here's a ballistic road trip through the front line of America's deadly Space Warfare capital:
Our first stop is Pueblo Chemical Depot. This chemical weapons storage facility houses over 2,600 tons of mustard agent. In 2010 the President budgeted for the stockpile to be destroyed.
Operations for the destruction of the 780,000 munitions are slated to start in 2014 and finish by 2020. I don't know, seems a waste to destroy all that mustard. Can't it just be repurposed for condiment-only use?
Next up, NORAD. The North American Aerospace Defense Command is a badass organization "charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America." NORAD operations were moved from the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker to Peterson AFB in 2006. That same year the 76th Space Control Facility was built.
As NORAD's former crib, this Cold War installation houses supercomputer systems that are on "warm standby." That should make you sleep better at night. Originally developed in the late 1950s as a command and control center that would defend against long-range Soviet bombers.
Over the years it's housed NORAD, U.S. Strategic Command, USAF Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). The 5-acre bunker- built into a freakin' mountain- was designed to withstand a 30 megaton nuclear blast.
Here's Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker's $13 million Command Center:
Right down the road, is the headquarters for the Air Force Space Command, which was established in 1982 and moved to Peterson AFB in 1987. The purpose of the AFSPC is to protect North America through its intercontinental ballistic missile and space operations.
The 21st Space Wing is also headquartered at Peterson AFB. It's the only organization that provides unified commanders and combat forces worldwide with both missile warning and space control. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by the Peterson Air & Space Museum.
Moving onto Schriever AFB, this base was named to commemorate retired Gen. Bernard Adolph Schriever, who was a pioneer in developing American ballistic missile programs. It's also home to the 50th Space Wing, the Space Warfare Center and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.
Next up, we've got Buckley AFB. Established in 1943 this is an Air Force Space Command base. Its mission is to defend America with its space-based missile warnings and space surveillance and communications operations.
The base hosts the 460th Space Wing, which delivers theater and homeland defense with infrared surveillance and missile tracking warnings.
Heading over to Rocky Flats Plant, this notorious nuclear weapons production facility was in operation for forty years, from 1952-1992. The entire facility is just one massive clusterfu#k of epic proportions, from plutonium fires to radioactive leaks. Ultimately it was shut down and the operators pled guilty to criminally violating environmental law. I wouldn't advise visiting. The area is still considered contaminated with plutonium.
This was the home of the United States' first multistage Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The Titan I was intended to serve as a deterrent, and complement the USAF's SM-65 Atlas missile.
Speaking of bombs, Colorado isn't only home to organizations charged with defending against ICBMs, it's also home to several infamous nuclear test sites. Take the Rulison test site, for example. This site is just 40 miles outside Grand Junction. In 1969 a 40-kiloton nuclear device was detonated over 2,500 meters below the ground here.
Lastly, Project Rio Blanco took place in 1973, when THREE 33-kiloton nuclear devises were simultaneous detonated 5-6,000 feet underground.
The lesson here, WWIII is coming. So we better prepare. The way I see it, the only clear way to make it through a post-nuclear war survival situation, is to move underground and establish a society with a 10:1 female-to-male ratio. It's our only hope.