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Maybe you’ve viewed it in movies, possibly you’ve heard around it top top the internet, yet yes, Colorado is home to a top secret military facility within a mountain.
During the height of the Cold war in the late 1950s, the government decided to develop a hardened command and also control center as a defense versus long-range Soviet bombers. The facility was developed inside Cheyenne hill in Colorado Springs. While the facility was sometimes open because that tours, that stopped after Sept. 11, 2001. However, 7NEWS gained a rare tour inside and learned 13 tricks of the mountain.
Secret No. 1: Cheyenne mountain is still open up for business.
When the Cheyenne hill facility opened up in the late 1960s, it to be the NORAD Combat to work Center. The mission was to watch for ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.
Over time, the mountain facility began housing other army operations including the U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Wait Force room Command and U.S. North Command (USNORTHCOM).
In 2006, NORAD and also USNORTHCOM relocated its main command facility to Peterson Air pressure Base -- 15 miles away -- and many assumed Cheyenne hill was closed.
However, Cheyenne Mountain’s deputy director, Steven Rose, stated the Cheyenne Mountain facility is quiet NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s alternating Command Center. And there are still much more than a dozen government and Department the Defense organ inside, part that he can not publicly name.
Secret No. 2: There space 15 structures inside the mountain – 1 mile within from the opening and 2,000 feet down from the height of the mountain. Workers can’t just walk within to your offices, they have to take a bus.
The office complicated is consisted of of 13 3-story buildings and also two 2-story buildings.
The buildings are free-standing buildings associated by hallways and ramps inside. The buildings are on 1,300+ giant springs, and also built 18 inches indigenous the rock wall surfaces in the mountain, so they can move separately if there is one earthquake or a blast.
“The building would bounce, but never touch the granite,” rose said. “We would certainly not lose operations.”
Even the utility lines walk in and also out the the building are made come flex, simply in case.
"Water, sewage, noþeles going into these buildings has come flex v the bouncing together well,” rose said.
“It doesn"t perform any an excellent if the building and also people survive, but then girlfriend don"t have the electrical energy or interaction lines to continue the mission.”
Secret No. 3: over there were actually two possible sites because that the mountain facility -- both in Colorado Springs.
The sites to be picked because of Colorado’s distance from the coasts (making an assault missile fly longer), due to the fact that it’s the many seismic-sound area that Colorado (no earthquakes) and the federal government wanted a solid item of granite v as few soft veins as feasible (so that wouldn’t split apart in a blast), rose explained.
The government taken into consideration Blodgett Peak, close to the Air force Academy, and Cheyenne Mountain. The government chose Cheyenne Mountain since Blodgett has too many soft veins, rose said.
Secret No. 4: The 2-mile long main tunnel in the complex has a phibìc portal and also a southern portal, however it’s not straight, that curved.
Rose defined that if the key tunnel had been straight, it would have actually gone through the yellow mines in Divide, Colorado. Instead, the tunnel curves within the mountain.
Secret No. 5: The famous blast doors within Cheyenne mountain aren’t top top the key tunnel. Lock on a next tunnel.
Rose explained that if there to be a blast, the force would pass v the main tunnel and also only 20 percent of the pressure would struggle the blast doors on the side of the tunnel.
There space two 23-ton blast doors in between the main tunnel and the office buildings complex. Throughout the cold war, one door was always closed. That meant workers had actually to go into through the very first door, wait in a center room for the door to be closed and sealed, climate wait because that the second door to it is in opened.
The doors were permanently opened up in 1992. However, they were closed for a few hours throughout the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 and also they are closed once a job for testing to make certain they tho work, simply in case.
Secret No. 6: about 350 people work within the hill on most weekdays. The number drops come 120 come 130 ~ above nights and also weekends, yet there’s room for the number come surge in war time, if needed, increased said.
There room workers surveillance scopes and screens, yet there are likewise firefighters, security, clinical personnel and other employees functioning inside.
Secret No. 7: The employees in Cheyenne hill don’t have windows through offices, since all castle would watch is a granite wall. However, castle do have actually some perks within the hill like a exercise facility, rotate gym, hospital, chapel, convenience store and more.
Rose defined that workers can’t simply run the end on your lunch break to gain a flu shot, attend an Ash Wednesday services, get a fast workout and also other normal activities so those tasks are lugged to them inside the mountain.
Note, if girlfriend look carefully at the photograph of the rotate gym, friend may notification hospital-type curtains on the walls. That"s since the turn gym deserve to be turned right into a triage center, if needed.
Secret No. 8: There room 5 lakes inside the mountain.
One lake is filled through diesel fuel and also it’s sealed behind a close up door wall. Cheyenne hill gets its power from the city of Colorado Springs. Yet if the complicated had to be sealed off, the diesel would certainly be offered to power underground generators.
The other 4 lakes room water reservoirs like you would view outside. One is provided for drinking water for the complex. The various other three lakes are industrial lakes. The water in the commercial lakes is used during peacetime because that firefighting or everything is needed. In wartime, the lake water could be offered as component of a back-up heating and cooling system.
There are also two watercrafts inside the hill so workers can examine the lakes, the pipes and the absent walls roughly the lakes.
Secret No. 9: While the complicated was design to withstand a nuclear blast, it’s additionally ready to handle an EMP or electromagnetic pulse.
Rose defined that one EMP won’t impact operations inside Cheyenne Mountain because the structures are so deep within the granite mountain.
Also, the buildings were constructed of Navy-grade steel which mirrors impulses and shields the equipment inside, rose said.
“We have actually a high level of protection,” increased explained.
Secret No. 10: The complicated was draft by the Navy and mining professionals.
Navy ship builders were lugged in because the federal government wanted a design that might “ride out” a blast. The government also wanted to use various other knowledge and Navy hardware consisting of the Navy-grade steel.
Geology professors in ~ Colorado school of Mines and also miners indigenous the Utah Mining corporation were brought in to rotate a mountain right into a military complex, rose said.
Secret No. 11: Where go the excavated rock go?
It was provided for producing a shelf outside the mountain for parking lots, roads and more buildings.
Secret No. 12: speaking of outside, workers have to be on the lookout because that wild animals.
Cheyenne mountain is a Colorado hill in a forest and also workers have seen two mountain lions, a momma bear and two cubs, 3 dozen wild turkeys and countless deer.
Secret No. 13: Movie fans, survivalists and also even doomsday “preppers” do pertained to the gates at Cheyenne hill Air force Station, however they don’t acquire in and they don’t also get to check out the famed entrance right into the mountain. The official, guarded entrance station is about 1.5 miles away from the renowned mountain entrance.
Cheyenne hill did sell tours to the public. In 1997, lock were providing 800 tours a year. However, the tours were canceled after 9/11. Arranging a tour for 7NEWS took 5 months and we were just allowed limited access and also very couple of photos inside the office facilities.
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Learn more about the history of NORAD and Cheyenne mountain on the NORAD website.