Starfish Prime caused an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which was far larger than expected, so much larger that it drove much of the instrumentation off scale, causing great difficulty in getting accurate measurements. The Starfish Prime electromagnetic pulse also made those effects known to the public by causing electrical damage in Hawaii, about 1,445 kilometres (898 mi) away from the detonation point, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link. The EMP damage to the microwave link shut down telephone calls from Kauai to the other Hawaiian islands.

The good that came from this test was the Outer Space Treaty in 1967.

    The Outer Space Treaty represents the basic legal framework of international space law. Among its principles, it bars states party to the treaty from placing weapons of mass destruction in orbit of Earth, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or otherwise stationing them in outer space. It exclusively limits the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military bases, installations, and fortifications (Art.IV). However, the Treaty does not prohibit the placement of conventional weapons in orbit. The treaty also states that the exploration of outer space shall be done to benefit all countries and shall be free for exploration and use by all the States.


My dad was tracking TRAAC and Injun for the Air Force as part of his engineering co-op. He was stationed in Honolulu. Watched the whole thing go down. Said it turned the sky the color of green jello.

Over the next few days his satellites died. So the Air Force moved him to Thule, Greenland to track different satellites. He said the sun set the day the DC-3 landed and didn't come up again until it took him away.

Easily 80% of my father's stories revolve around Honolulu or Thule. It's safe to say that this one event had a more profound effect on his life than any other.

posted by francopoli: 885 days ago