Re: Sorry, why was it called "Area 51" again?

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Message posted by Peter Merlin (Member since 11/13/2003) on March 20, 2022 at 11:28:59 PST:

First, i need to state emphatically that Area 51 was absolutely not names because of its position on any sort of NTS grid map. There is an NTS grid map but none of the test area numbers correspond to that system. The grid (I have seen similar ones for Edwards Air Force Base and AF plant 42) is sometimes called a "crash grid," on which the grid squares are defined by rows and columns. The horizontal rows are typically numbered, and the vertical columns are lettered. So, any given square might be designated A3 or K27. If there are more than 26 columns, the letters get doubled (AA, BB, CC, etc.). Area 51 lies entirely outside the NTS Grid Map.

Are 51 was also not numbered based on the township and range grid used on topographic maps. Each township/range block is divided into 36 one-by-one-mile squares. So, no number 51.

The 10-by-6-mile (38,400 acres) block of land that came to be known as Area 51 was defined in the summer of 1955 when Watertown Airstrip was being constructed. The CIA made arrangements for the Atomic Energy Commission( AEC) to obtain this land from the Air Force for the nominal purpose of being an extension of the NTS. Transfer of the land took place via Public Land Order 1662 in June 1958.

In 1959, Kelly Johnson recommended moving the EG&G radar cross-section measurement range from Indian Springs to Groom Lake. The construction project at Groom then became known as Project 51, which was a somewhat random choice, though some other "off-site" AEC test areas also ended up with 50-series numbers (TTR was Area 52. for example).

Subsequently, the AEC added the 10x6-mile rectangle to NTS maps as Area 51. The CIA adopted Area 51 as the official name of the Groom Lake test site, and security and firefighting personnel throughout the 1960s wore badges displaying the Area 51 designation.

When the Air Force took over responsibility for Groom Lake in he late 1970s, the Area 51 designation was abandoned.

In Reply to: Sorry, why was it called "Area 51" again? posted by Brian L. on March 20, 2022 at 9:59:13 PST:


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