The US had plans to build a Lunar Outpost of the US Army. These are also known as Project Horizon 1959.
On June 9, 1959, the United States Government decided that the construction of a lunar outpost is of great importance to the country. Project Horizon: The establishment of a Lunar Outpost was created in response to growing interest of other nations, like the Soviet Union in the militarization and exploration of the moon.
However, its primary goal was to protect potential United States interests on the lunar surface.
The declassified document can be seen HERE.
During 1959, the Space Race was adopting a whole new level. Two years after the initial proposal of Project Horizon, the first Apollo mission would launch, on October 27, 1961, creating a new chapter in the history of mankind.
However, countries around the globe –primarly the US and the Soviet Union—werent only planning traveling to the moon and placing astronauts into orbit around the planet, their plans were way ahead of time, and they had numerous projects already lined up that would have kickstarted the militarization of our solar system.
The rapid advances in propulsion, electronics and space medicine and other astronautical sciences in the 1950’s would have allowed the successful construction of a military outpost on the moon.
„To be second to the Soviet Union in establishing an outpost on the moon would be disastrous to our nation’s prestige and in turn to our democratic philosophy. Although it is contrary to United States policy, the Soviet Union in establishing the first permanent base may claim the moon or critical areas thereof for its own.“
However, not only was Project Horizon the first step of lunar militarization, the base was designed so it could sever as a permanent manned installation on the moon, which eventually would allow the investigation of scientific, commercial and military potential on the lunar surface.
The lunar outpost was intended to serve as an observation post which would facilitate –in the near future—travel between Earth, the moon and eventual exploration of our solar system and outer space.
Purpose of the Lunar Outpost
The establishment of a manned US outpost on the moon will:
- Demonstrate the United States scientific leadership in outer space
- Support scientific explorations and investigations.
- Extend and improve space reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities and control of space.
- Extend and improve communications and serve as a communications relay station.
- Provide a basic and supporting research laboratory for space research and development activity.
- Develop a stable, low-gravity outpost for use as a launch site for deep space exploration.
- Provide an opportunity for scientific exploration and development of a space mapping and survey system.
- Provide an emergency staging area, rescue capability or navigational aid for other space activity.
Project Horizon included a ‘sophisticated’ defense system that would be incorporated into the lunar outpost. The base would be defended against Soviet overland attack by man-fired weapons:
- Unguided Davy Crockett rockets with low-yield nuclear warheads
- Conventional Claymore mines modified to puncture pressure suits