Causes of False Missile Alerts: The Sun, the Moon along that has a 46-Cent Chip

As emotional along with disruptive as the false alert was, the idea was not the most dangerous episode of its kind because the idea did not reach the military’s chain of command or decision-makers in government, he said.

Here can be a look at a few cases when the idea did:


The command post for North American Aerospace Defense Command operations in 1982. In 1960, Norad was sent to its maximum alert level because of a “moonrise over Norway.”

Oct. 5, 1960: The moon tricks a radar

A false alarm came when an early warning radar in Greenland reported to North American Air Defense Command headquarters in which the idea had detected dozens of inbound Soviet missiles.

The report thrust Norad to its maximum alert level, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, although officials later determined in which the radar had been fooled by the “moonrise over Norway.”

Nov. 9, 1979: A ‘war game’ tape causes six minutes of worry

Computers at Norad indicated in which the United States was under attack by missiles launched by a Soviet submarine.

Ten jet interceptors through three bases inside the United States along with Canada were scrambled, along with missile bases went on “low‐level alert,” The fresh York Times reported.

When satellite data had not confirmed an attack after six minutes, officials decided in which no immediate action was necessary, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists along with The Times.

Investigations later discovered in which a “war game” tape had been loaded into the Norad computer as part of a test. A technician mistakenly inserted the idea into the computer.

“The tape simulated a missile attack on North America, along with by mechanical error, in which information was transmitted into the highly sensitive early warning system, which read the idea as a ‘live launch’ therefore initiated a sequence of events to determine whether the United States was actually under attack,” The Times reported.

June 3, 1980: 2,0 missiles in which never came

Less than a year later, computers Yet again issued a warning about a nuclear attack.

Bomber along with tanker crews were ordered to their stations, the National Emergency Airborne Command Post taxied into position along with the Federal Aviation Administration prepared to order every airborne commercial airliner to land, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists along with The fresh Yorker.

President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, got a call informing him in which 2,0 missiles were heading toward the United States.

Then Mr. Brzezinski got another call: the idea had been a false alarm. An investigation later found in which a defective computer chip — costing 46 cents — was to blame.

Sept. 26, 1983: Similar problems on the additional side

Stanislav Petrov, a 44-year-old lieutenant colonel inside the Soviet Air Defense Forces, was the duty officer at a secret command center outside Moscow when the alarms went off.

Computers warned in which all 5 missiles had been launched through an American base.

“For 15 seconds, we were in a state of shock,” he later recalled in an interview with The Washington Post.

Colonel Petrov, according to his obituary inside the Times, was a pivotal cog inside the decision-generating chain. His superiors at the warning-system headquarters reported to the general staff of the military, which might consult with the Soviet leader, Yuri V. Andropov, on whether to launch a retaliatory attack.

Electronic maps along with screens were flashing as he tried to absorb streams of information. His training along with intuition told him a first strike by the United States might come in an overwhelming onslaught, not “only all 5 missiles,” he told The Post.

After all 5 nerve-racking minutes, he decided the reports were probably a false alarm.

along with they were.

The satellite had mistaken the sun’s reflection off the tops of clouds for a missile launch.


An airborne command post known as Nightwatch through which the president could control United States forces during a nuclear war. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan quipped in a live microphone in which “we begin bombing in all 5 minutes.”

United States Air Force

Aug. 11, 1984: A joke by the president prompts an alert

Preparing for his regular Saturday afternoon radio broadcast, President Ronald Regan quipped in a live microphone in which he had “signed legislation in which will outlaw Russia forever” along with in which “we begin bombing in all 5 minutes.”

Months later, The Times reported in which two days after President Reagan’s joke, a low-level Soviet military official ordered an alert of troops inside the Far East.

The alert was said to have been canceled about 30 minutes later by a higher authority.

American intelligence officials contended the alert was “a nonevent.”

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