Roger, Houston . . . Er, Colorado

A new military space center rises in the Rocky Mountains

In the sometimes arcane vocabulary of the space program, the oft-repeated phrase "Roger, Houston," uttered with a kind of professional jauntiness, has always sounded reassuringly familiar. But as plans for defense-oriented space missions begin to take shape, it is apparent that future military astronauts communicating with ground control may punctuate their messages with the more mellifluous "Roger, Colorado." The reason is the Air Force's $1.15 billion, 640-acre Consolidated Space Operations Center, now rising on the barren prairie just outside of Colorado Springs.

The spartan-looking facility is designed to be the nerve center of military space activities. When complete, CSOC (pronounced see-sock)...

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