Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

A fascinating collection of declassified U.S. documents reflect the covert side of lunar programs, made available as a National Security Archive electronic briefing book.

This special posting today marks the 45th anniversary of the first humans to set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Called “Soldiers, Spies and the Moon: Secret U.S. and Soviet Plans from the 1950s and 1960s,” the collection is edited by Jeffrey Richelson of the National Security Archive.

The Soviet Union’s Luna 9 was the first spacecraft in February 1966 to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data from the Moon's surface to Earth. Credit: NASA/GSFC

The Soviet Union’s Luna 9 was the first spacecraft in February 1966 to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data from the Moon’s surface to Earth.
Credit: NASA/GSFC

Among the documents:– Army and Air Force studies from 1959 – 1961 on the creation of a military lunar base, with possible uses as a surveillance platform (for targets on earth and space) and the Lunar Based Earth Bombardment System.

— A study on the detonation of a nuclear device on or in the vicinity of the moon.

— The use of the lunar surface to relay signals from Washington to Hawaii and from U.S. spy ships.

— Collection of Soviet radar signals after they bounced off the moon — a technique known as Moon Bounce ELINT.

— The U.S. theft and return of a Soviet space capsule during an exhibition tour.

— A 1965 estimate of Soviet intentions with regard to a manned moon landing.

— Several analyses of the Soviet Union’s Luna missions, including Luna 9 — the first mission to result in a soft landing on the moon.

For access to these and other documents, put on your spy shades and go to:

http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB479/

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