Stratonauts pp 71-85 | Cite as

The U-2 stratonauts

  • Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


About the same time as the X series of aircraft began, so too did the U-2 program. It was obvious during the early days of the Cold War that the U.S. required better reconnaissance of the Soviet and Chinese capabilities and intentions. This was the time after the Berlin airlift in 1948–49, the Korean War, and the detonation of the first Soviet atomic bomb in 1949 and their first thermonuclear bomb in 1953. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was desperate to find out whether the Soviets had the capability to deliver these weapons. He was also concerned about the Chinese buildup. He couldn’t simply wait for the development of spy satellites. The first Corona KH-1 satellite was not launched until 1959. Neither could his successor, President John F. Kennedy, let the Soviets put missiles in Cuba. The two sides came very close to nuclear war. Individual Soviet officers on submarines and in Cuba were given independent launch control of nuclear missiles. Both the USAF and NASA still fly the U-2 today.


Operational Mission Thermonuclear Bomb Mission Planner Earth Science Community Grand Slam 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried
    • 1
  1. 1.Lago VistaUSA

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