Finally after almost sixty years of existence the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has confirmed the existence of Area 51 via a 407 page declassified document. The document also revealed that Area 51 was a base for the Lockheed U2 spy plane program aka the ‘Dragon Fly’.
While Area 51 is famously associated with a lot of things including aliens, UFOs, movies (yes, there were a lot of sci-fi movies based on Area 51), there is a fat chance that you might have never heard about this place. Here, we give you a low down on Area 51.
What is Area 51?
Area 51 also known as Groom Lake or Homey Airport is a remote detachment of the Edwards Air Force Base. Although not exactly clear, the base is believed to be a testing and training centre for experimental aircrafts and weapon systems. Everything that happens here is Top Secret or Sensitive Compartmented information.
Earlier requests for identification of Area 51 were always denied by the United States Air Force (USAF)
Where is Area 51?
Area 51 is located in the south of Nevada in western United States and is a rectangular area measuring 23 by 25 miles, with restricted airspace.
Coordinates: 37°14′06″N 115°48′40″W
What is in Area 51?
The site has a large military installation called the Nevada Test & Training Range with the Groom Lake situated to its north-east being used as a landing strip for the testing aircrafts. Earlier the landing strip might have also been used for bombing and artillery practice as bomb craters are still visible around the vicinity.
Facts about Area 51
Built in 1955, Area 51 was named “Paradise Ranch” by Kelly Johnson designer of Lockheed’s U2 to encourage CIA & Lockheed’s personnel to move here.
The Groom Lake is a salt flat (dry lake) used as runways.
Area 51 was a wasteland before being commissioned to be used by the CIA under the US President Eisenhower.
Area 51 is the site of some historic Top Secret projects which include the likes of the Lockheed U2 in 1955, a spy plane for the USAF which has been in service for more than 50 years now.
The OXCART program was started here by the CIA in 1961 to test the Lockheed A-12, a Mach 3 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft whose later variant was the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest manned airbreathing jet aircraft.
After one of the U2 was shot down in 1960 while flying over the Soviet territory, it was decided to build new high altitude, high speed unmanned aircraft called the D21, though it was never used due to technical difficulties.
There were a number of secret programs carried out at the location as well and perhaps still are.
Conspiracy Theories and Controversies on Area 51
Underside view of Have Blue
Area 51 is mostly famous for the various accounts of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) sightings in this region. Now that we know about the secret aircraft projects undertaken here, it is perhaps easier to understand the origin or the source of these UFO sightings which were mostly the above mentioned aircrafts especially the A-12 due to its unique design, being sighted by the civilians during late evenings & mistaken as UFOs.
F117 flying over the mountains
Aliens & Flying Saucer Discs
Though, the one theory which has captured the imagination of the world and the conspiracy theorists is the Roswell UFO Incident, wherein an airborne object crashed in on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico on 7th July, 1947.
The media reported it as an alien spacecraft containing extra terrestrial life while the USAF simply rejected the claims stating that it was a experimental high altitude surveillance balloon. The conspiracy theorists maintain that it was a silver saucer with aliens in it which was taken by the USAF to Area 51 and experiments were conducted on the spaceship along with autopsies of the alien corpses.
Area 51 Photography by NASA
Also NASA is believed to have captured satellite images of Area 51 as part of the Skylab Photography in 1974 which led to hot debates in the form of a memo between the federal agencies related to releasing of the images in the public domain or having them classified.
The Flying Saucer UFO and the Aliens bit is really fascinating especially if you watch the Area 51 documentaries on YouTube. Now that you know about the controversy behind Area 51, do you think alien life exists? Do let us know your thoughts in comments below.