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Location that Homey Airport
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The United says Air pressure facility commonly known together Area 51 is a very classified far detachment of Edwards Air pressure Base, in ~ the Nevada Test and Training Range. Follow to the main Intelligence firm (CIA), the correct names because that the facility are Homey Airport (ICAO: KXTA) and also Groom Lake, though the surname Area 51 was supplied in a CIA paper from the Vietnam War. Other names used for the facility encompass Dreamland, and nicknames paradise Ranch, house Base and Watertown. The distinct use airspace around the ar is described as limited Area 4808 north (R-4808N).
The base"s existing primary objective is publicly unknown; however, based upon historical evidence, it most likely supports the advancement and trial and error of experimental aircraft and also weapons equipment (black projects). The intense secrecy surrounding the base has actually made the the regular subject of conspiracy theories and also a central component come unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore. Although the base has actually never been claimed a secret base, every research and also occurrences in Area 51 are top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented info (TS/SCI). In July 2013, complying with a liberty of information Act (FOIA) inquiry filed in 2005, the CIA publicly identified the presence of the base because that the an initial time, declassifying files detailing the history and purpose of Area 51.
Area 51 is situated in the southern section of Nevada in the western united States, 83 mile (134 km) north-northwest of ras Vegas. Located at that center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large military airfield. The site was gained by the United claims Air pressure in 1955, mainly for the flight trial and error of the Lockheed U-2 aircraft. The area around Area 51, consisting of the little town of Rachel on the "Extraterrestrial Highway", is a popular tourist destination.
The initial rectangular basic of 6 by 10 miles (9.7 by 16.1 km) is now part of the so-called "Groom box", a rectangle-shaped area measuring 23 by 25 miles (37 by 40 km), of minimal airspace. The area is connected to the interior Nevada Test website (NTS) road network, with led roads leading south to Mercury and also west to Yucca Flat. Leading northeast native the lake, the wide and well-maintained Groom Lake road runs v a pass in the Jumbled Hills. The road formerly led come mines in the Groom basin, however has been improved since their closure. Its winding food runs past a security checkpoint, but the limited area about the base extends more east. After leaving the limited area, Groom Lake road descends eastward to the floor the the Tikaboo Valley, pass the dirt-road gateways to several small ranches, prior to converging through State route 375, the "Extraterrestrial Highway", south of Rachel.
Groom Lake is a salt level in Nevada used for runways the the Nellis Bombing range Test website airport (KXTA) on the north of the Area 51 USAF armed forces installation. The lake in ~ 4,409 ft (1,344 m) elevation is around 3.7 miles (6.0 km) from north to south and 3 mile (4.8 km) from east to west at its widest point. Located within the namesake Groom Lake Valley part of the Tonopah Basin, the lake is 25 mi (40 km) south of Rachel, Nevada.
The origin of the Area 51 name is unclear. The many accepted originates from a grid numbering mechanism of the area by the Atomic power Commission (AEC); while Area 51 isn"t component of this system, it is adjacent to Area 15. One more explanation is the 51 to be used since it to be unlikely the the AEC would usage the number.
Lead and also silver were discovered in the southern component of the Groom variety in 1864, and also the English Groome command Mines minimal company sponsor the Conception Mines in the 1870s, providing the ar its name (nearby mines included Maria, Willow and also White Lake). The understand in Groom were gained by J. B. Osborne and also partners and also patented in 1876, and his son gained the interests in the 1890s. Claims were integrated as two 1916 companies with mining continuing until 1918 and resuming after people War II until the at an early stage 1950s.
World war II
The airfield ~ above the Groom Lake site started service in 1942 together Indian Springs Air pressure Auxiliary Field, and consisted of two dirt 5000 feet runways to adjust NE/SW, NW/SE 37°16′35″N 115°45′20″W / 37.27639°N 115.75556°W / 37.27639; -115.75556.
The Groom Lake test facility was established in April 1955 through the main Intelligence company (CIA) for project Aquatone, the advancement of the Lockheed U-2 strategic enlightenment aircraft.
As part of the project, the director, Richard M. Bissell, Jr., interpreted that, provided the extreme secrecy enveloping the project, the flight test and also pilot training programs could not be conducted at Edwards Air force Base or Lockheed"s Palmdale facility. A find for a an ideal testing site for the U-2 was performed under the same too much security as the remainder of the project.
He informed Lockheed, who sent out an inspection team the end to Groom Lake. Follow to Lockheed"s U-2 designer Kelly Johnson:
We flew over it and within thirty seconds, friend knew the was the place ... That was best by a dried lake. Male alive, us looked at the lake, and also we every looked at each other. It was one more Edwards, so we wheeled around, came down on that lake, taxied approximately one finish of it. It was a perfect organic landing field ... As smooth together a billiard table there is no anything being done to it". Johnson used a compass to lay the end the direction that the an initial runway. The place was dubbed "Groom Lake".
The lakebed made an ideal strip native which they can test aircraft, and the Emigrant Valley"s mountain ranges and also the NTS perimeter, about 100 mi (160 km) north of ras Vegas, defended the test site from visitors. The CIA asked the AEC to get the land, designated "Area 51" top top the map, and include it come the Nevada check Site.
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Johnson named the area "Paradise Ranch" come encourage workers to move to a location that the CIA"s official background of the U-2 project would later explain as "the new facility in the middle of nowhere"; the name ended up being shortened come "the Ranch". ~ above 4 might 1955, a survey team arrived at Groom Lake and laid out a 5,000-foot (1,500 m), north-south runway top top the southwest edge of the lakebed and designated a site for a base assistance facility. "The Ranch", likewise known as site II, initially had little an ext than a couple of shelters, workshops and trailer houses in which to residence its little team. In a little over three months, the base contained a single, paved runway, three hangars, a manage tower, and also rudimentary accommodations because that test personnel. The base"s couple of amenities consisted of a movie theatre and also volleyball court. Additionally, there to be a chaos hall, numerous water wells, and fuel storage tanks. Through July 1955, CIA, wait Force, and also Lockheed personnel started arriving. The Ranch received its first U-2 distribution on 24 July 1955 native Burbank ~ above a C-124 Globemaster II cargo plane, attach by Lockheed technicians top top a Douglas DC-3. Regular Military waiting Transport organization flights were set up in between Area 51 and Lockheed"s Burbank, California offices. To preserve secrecy, personnel flew come Nevada top top Monday mornings and returned to California top top Friday evenings.