Facility of utmost importance.
Present-day STARFIRE OPTICAL RANGE next to the Manzano/Sandia Base area inside Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico…..Directed Energy Directorate of Air Force Research Laboratory……ongoing research on ground-based lasers to disable satellites, i.e., anti-satellite weapons systems.
(Photo taken by Norio Hayakawa on September 20, 2013 near Coyote Canyon.)
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, which runs PROJECT STARFIRE, said the observatory’s large telescope, by using adaptive optics, could distinguish objects in orbit the size of a basketball at a distance of 1,000 miles, or 1600 kilometers.
The STARFIRE researchers are now investigating how to use guide stars and flexible mirrors in conjunctive with powerful lasers that could flash their beams into space to knock out enemy satellites.
The Air Force budget documents call the telescope a “weapons-class beam director”:
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Please also see this video. (a visit by Norio Hayakawa to the far southwest end of Kirtland Air Force Base) :
HOW TO GET TO THIS LOCATION:
The best panoramic view of this entire complex is from Mesa Del Sol, not too far from Albuquerque’s airport (Sunport). Direction:
Go south on I-25, exit at Rio Bravo, make a left. Go right on University all the way to Mesa Del Sol. Park your vehicle in the back of the Community Building (Glass Building). Walk eastward for about 200 feet. You will already have a great panoramic view of the whole Manzano/Sandia Base. This spot is exactly right next to Ground Zero where on May 22, 1957, an Air Force plane accidentally dropped a Hydrogen Bomb while trying to land at Kirtland Air Force Base. This exact spot is about 4 miles south of Kirtland Air Force Base’s control tower. Fortunately the mechanism to explode the nuclear bomb was not connected at that time. The Air Force completely covered this incident up, until 1986 when L.A. Times obtained this information through the Freedom of Information act.
See the video:
In 2013, I had a unique opportunity to explain to Anthony Bourdain (CNN’s Anthony Bourdain PARTS UNKNOWN, New Mexico Episode) the importance of the Sandia/Manzano Base of Albuquerque:
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