10. The first major U.S. spy plane
Eisenhower was the first president to put control of Area 51 into the hands of the CIA who later developed the U-2 spy plane which played a pivotal role in spy operations over the Soviet Union.
9. Pre-emptive spying
Paranoid about Russian spying, the U.S military deployed a reconnaissance satellite to take photos of Area 51 from space. The images were then analysed extensively to determine how much information the Soviets could get if they photographed it with the Sputnik 13.
8. Area 51’s former employees
There’s actually an Area 51 alumni named ‘Roadrunners Internationale’. Members regularly meet up to talk about work experiences, but as most information is classified – even between themselves – there’s little they can actually talk about.
7. The photograph that sparked 1,000 emails
Astronauts on board the Skylab inadvertently snapped photos of Area 51. NASA and security analysts debated the impact the photo would have on national security if the image was publicly released. The image was finally given the all clear and was published as part of a collection of Skylab photos.
6. Change of command to the Air Force
In the mid-70’s the fate of Area 51 was in the air when the CIA announced that they no longer needed the base to test aerial reconnaissance programs. The Air Force stepped in and took over Area 51 as a base for developing aircraft in 1997.