Spies in space

I love this story about the discovery of spacesuits for spies (or, less sensationally, training suits from the Air Force’s short-lived MH-7 program) in a locked, forgotten room at Cape Canaveral. As a comment on Slashdot pointed out, it’s a great metaphor for the fate of much of our space engineering work from the 1960s.

A few other memories were dredged up by the Slashdot crowd, including the X-20 Dynosoar, a reusable space plane design conceived in 1957 and cancelled in 1963. I remember seeing models of some of the other proposed Air Force space craft in the visitors center at NASA Langley when I was a kid.

Manned espionage platforms speak of a vision of the future that failed to understand how quickly electronics technology would advance to provide communications and surveillance capabilities without costly human intervention. It’s a more Asimovian view of the future than the Philip K. Dick version we got instead.