posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 04:05 PM
This very informative document from 1964 encompasses the NASA achievements.
In regards to the Vela Project, I copied the three parts that relate to this subject:
PDF page 7 document page 3:
.. The VELA spaceborne nuclear detection project successfully orbited two
additional satellite s.
PDF page 44 document page 41:
Continued progress was made during 1964 in military aeronautics and space endeavor.
Three new high performance aircraft, the YF-12, XB-70, and the F-111
were publicly revealed and promise to enhance United States capabilities. In the area of space operations, there were three systems to reach
These were the military Navigation Satellite and two defensive Anti-Satellite Systems.
In addition, the TITAN III space launch vehicle achieved two successful flights and should, in the coming years, be a most valuable and versatile
member of the national launch vehicle family. The GEMINI launch vehicle, a man-rated version of the TITAN II ICBM, successfully demonstrated its
capability to perform the NASA two-man GEMINI mission. Two more VELA nuclear explosion detection satellites were injected into identical orbits from a
single ATLAS AGENA launch vehicle. Another important milestone reached in 1964 was the decision to proceed with a military communications satellite
system, planned for operational status in1966.
The Department of Defense involvement in space activities has grown steadily inscope since its earliest identification in 1955 as a $3 million effort.
Today it represents about 25% of the funds spent for all Defense research and developmentprograms. It is the largest single program grouping in the
Defense Department Research, Development, Test and Evaluation category.
The military space effort is classed under two headings. First are those projects which are directed at clear, identifiable military needs and
requirements such as navigation, communications, space tracking and detection, anti-satellite systems and observation systems. About half of the
Defense effort falls under this heading. The second area of endeavor embraces the development of broad competence in space technology. It includes
vehicles, subsystems and systems concepts likely to be important for possible future military application. It is in this grouping that is found the
Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) to determine how man can be exploited usefully in a military space system, the TITAN III space booster, gravity
gradient stabilization systems, space electrical power supplies, bioastronautics and similar important research and development efforts.
PDF page 48 document page 45:
Spaceborne Nuclear Detection (VELA)
The purpose of the VELA Satellite Program is to develop a satellite-based nuclear test detection capability for high altitude and deep space nuclear
tests. This Advanced Research Projects Agency research and development program is jointly conducted by the USAF and AEC.
The performance of the nuclear test detection satellites launched into orbit about the earth has been outstanding. The four VELA spacecraft launched
during 1963 and 1964 continue to remain in operation, providing radiation background data and information on the operation of various nuclear test
detection sensors in space as well as providing a capability for detecting clandestine nuclear test detonations conducted in outer space. Test data
are providing DOD with a clearer concept of the costs and capabilities of an operational space test detection system as well as design characteristics
for a satellite-based world wide nuclear test detection
system. The radiation background data are also of general scientific value for the study of solar and galactic radiation and trapped particles in the
In addition to the accomplishment of their R&D objectives, the four VELA
satellites in orbit are providing an interim monitoring capability particularly
significant because of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Future launches in the program are planned to permit the incorporation of
improvements in sensors and to conduct related experiments.