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Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Fifty years have passed since the Cheyenne Mountain Complex went fully operational. Now, the US Air Force has given us a chance to look inside the legendary military installation made famous by the Terminator series.

Located in Colorado Springs at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, the Mountain Complex has provided a unique and useful space for the Department of Defence since it opened in April 1966. And for Skynet, too!

As a command and control center for defence against long-range Soviet bombers, it was considered to be a primary target for Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles — which is why it was built inside a rocky mountain, to withstand a direct nuclear attack. As Airman magazine’s thorough article explains:

The mountain itself is about 2,895.60m tall, and the tunnel entrance sits about 609.60m from the top. Though the complex may have changed names during the past five decades, its mission has never strayed from defending the U.S. and its allies. Today, it is known as Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, with a primary role of collecting information from satellites and ground-based sensors throughout the world and disseminating the data to North American Aerospace Defence Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command — a process Steven Rose, Cheyenne Mountain AFS deputy director, compares to the work done by the stem of the human brain.

The photos and video below give a fascinating glimpse into how one of the most secret military complexes in the world looks in 2016. And you shouldn’t be surprised that it looks familiar, because you’ve probably already seen it in movies such as Dr. Strangelove, War Games, the Terminator series, Independence Day, Interstellar, and video games including Fallout and Call of Duty.

Now, take a look deep inside this iconic cold war security complex that still watches our skies and shores.

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

The Cheyenne Mountain Complex is a military installation and nuclear bunker located in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. The mountain itself is about 2,895.60m tall, and the tunnel entrance sits about 609.60m from the top. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Entrance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Senior Airman Ricardo Collie, a 721st Security Forces member, patrols the north gate of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex at Cheyenne Air Force Station, Colorado. Collie is one of many security layers to enter more than a mile inside a Colorado mountain to a complex of steel buildings that sit in caves. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

A Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station employee walks to the mountain’s complex almost a mile to get to the blast doors and into the facility. From the mountain’s north portal to its south portal s a 3km road through the mountain. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

The two 23-ton blast doors at the entrance inside the Cheyenne Mountain Complex are made of steel and can take up to 20 seconds to close with the assistance of hydraulics. If the hydraulics were to fail, the military guards stationed in the tunnel can close the doors in 40 seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Several hydraulic rods help lock down the two 23-ton blast doors at the entrance inside of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The blast doors are shaped like plugs, meaning any blast would tighten their seal during an attack. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Tunnel bend with parking lots. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Lt. Gen Daniel R. Hokanson, the U.S. North Command deputy commander, and his staff walk into the Cheyenne Mountain Complex at Cheyenne Air Station, Colorado. Two thousand feet below the surface, buildings made of battleship steel sit on springs isolating them from earthquakes that could company a nuclear blast outside. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Steven Rose (left), the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station deputy director, and the safety chief walk through the Cheyenne Mountain Complex’s generator room on their way to the facility’s underground reservoirs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

The Cheyenne Mountain Complex has six generators to utilise as backup for the mountain’s power. The six generators can power up to 500 kilowatts, enough power to sustain 5,000 homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Emergency phone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

The Cheyenne Mountain Complex houses more than a dozen government and Department of Defence agencies. About 350 people work inside the bunker during the day, with about 170 who stay overnight. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Cheyenne Mountain’s 15 buildings rest on more than 1,300 springs, 46cm from the mountain’s rock walls so they could move independently in the event of a nuclear blast or earthquake. In addition to its protection against a nuclear blast or natural disaster, Cheyenne Mountain is also the nation’s best protected against electromagnetic radiation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Tech. Sgts. Alex Gaviria and Sarah Haydon, both senior system controllers, answer phone calls inside the 721st Communications Squadron Systems Center in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The systems center monitors around the world for support and missile warning. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)

Peek Inside Skynet's 50-Year-Old Blast-Proof Atomic Bunker

Steven Rose (left), the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station deputy director, and the safety chief paddle a boat toward the back of one of Cheyenne Mountain Complex’s underground reservoirs to place a floating device. The underground reservoirs carved from solid rock provide drinking and cooling water, while a lake of diesel fuel sits ready for the six locomotive-sized diesel generators capable of powering a small city. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)
U.S. Air Force Video edited by Travis Burcham, shot by Andrew Arthur Breese:


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