|Colorado Springs, CO||Air Force||http://www.norad.mil/AboutNORAD/CheyenneMountainAirForceStation.aspx|
Largely in response to the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957, (which demonstrated not only their ability to launch satellites but also nuclear warheads), the Department of Defense began to think about constructing an underground facility to replace the vulnerable above-ground facilities at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado.
The DOD chose Cheyenne Mountain, just south of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, due to its central location within the United States, lack of earthquake activity and proximity to other permanent military installations. Construction began in 1961, was complete in 1964, and Cheyenne Mountain AFB became operational two years later.
The complex includes administrative buildings outside, which were built on a granite foundation blasted and removed from inside the mountain. Leading into the mountain are two huge 25 ton blast doors, providing a very secure entrance to the complex, which are capable of withstanding a multi-megaton blast over a mile away. There are a total of fifteen buildings inside, all of which sit on massive spring foundations designed to minimize the blast impact of a nuclear attack. Twelve of the buildings inside are three stories tall!
The complex inside the blast doors could operate in isolation for some time, as it has back-up electrical generators that can produce 7000 KW of electricity and reservoirs that hold 1.5 million gallons of water. It also has a ventilation system that can filter harmful chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.
Due to the high cost to keep this facility in a fully operational status and the reduced threat of a nuclear attack on the United States, in 2006 NORAD placed the complex on "warm stand-by" and renamed it "Cheyenne Mountain Directorate."
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