The following post is for those of my readers who are interested in the history of intelligence in this country, particularly during the cold war.
For those of you participating in my occassional "good citizenship class on the Intelligence Community" and how it works, here are some things I think worthy of note:
1. Projects like this are approved by the President. 2. Congressional approval does not seem to be required back in the "good old days", beyond budget approval. That is different now, but the details of that will not be apparent in this case, it was before such things. 3. People die. 4. Top scientists of the country devote their time, sometimes without compensation to help make it happen. 5. Some projects are reasonably priced and get done on or ahead of schedule. 6. The different agencies really are different and compete for money and really do want to do things differently. 7. Projects like this are inherently interdepartmental and ultimately require the agencies to work together. 8. (most importantly) The project helped to deescalate tensions during the cold war on at least three occasions (the bomber gap, the missile gap, the china/taiwan issue).
The Table of Contents:
-- I knew the U2 was not pressurized and had a suit for the pilot that was basically a space suit to keep him pressurized. What I had not realized is that this is one of the first times that this had been done, the U2 was happening in the mid 1950s and that was before the manned space program, so far as I know.