The name ‘Area 51’ derives from its marking on 1950’s Nevada Test Site maps. Today, the official name of Area 51 is Air Force Flight Test Center, Detachment 3, or AFFTC Det. 3 for short.
- The Area 51 mess hall sometimes served lobsters and oysters. Once a week it was steak night.
- There is a sliver of truth to the conspiracy theory that the moon landing was staged at Area 51. Various space equipment – including land rovers and life support systems – were tested by the astronauts at the adjoining nuclear testing grounds.
- After an increase in UFO sightings in 1952, the CIA concluded that “there is a remote possibility that they may be interplanetary aircraft,” and that it was necessary to investigate each sighting.
- 90% of reported UFO sightings could be easily debunked, while the other 10% were “a number of incredible reports from credible observers.”
- Over half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights (namely the U-2) over the United States.
- The A-12 OXCART required special fuel in order to fly at such extreme speeds and heights. The fuel was made to withstand extremely high temperatures and would not ignite even if someone threw a match into a barrel full of it
- The OXCART cruised at 2200 miles per hour, but because the plane was secret it was kept out of official speed competitions.
- The A-12 OXCART consisted of more than 90% titanium. It was the world’s first titanium plane.
- An A-12 spy plane was used when the USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea to photograph the area and determine the ship's location.
- The OXCART's engines acted as vacuum cleaners, sucking up any debris left on the runway. So personnel would vacuum the runway before each test flight.
In a statement, the Nellis Air Force Base said the action was necessary because “the property’s location inside the NTTR (Nevada Test And Training Range) and the increasing security demands have made it impossible for the Air Force to test and train securely and safely while civilians are present.”