A few photos from MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Firepond experiment. Brian Edwards, a Lincoln Lab engineer charged with building the CORA amplifier, was also asked by the program’s original leader Leo Sullivan to serve as its institutional memory. These photos were released for public consumption thanks to him. Keep in mind that all the hardware here was part of a massive experiment designed to identify intercontinental ballistic missile warheads. Besides the telescope itself, none of it remains.

  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Firepond facility as it looked during "Firepond 1" in the 1970s. (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Firepond 1's one-kilowatt laser, circa 1969. The maker of those tubes more often supplied dairies. (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Firepond 1's LRPA amplifier (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Another view of Firepond 1's LRPA (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • A big-picture overview of the Firepond 2 system (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • The Project Luna See telescope was adapted and augmented for use at Firepond. (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • The Luna See/Firepond telescope in its Firepond 2 configuration (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • One of Firepond 2's two CORA optical gain modules. (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Firepond 2's CORA wideband amplifier (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • The CO2 gas-recovery system of Firepond 2's CORA amplifier (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • The Firepond 2 optical modulator (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Firepond 2's stable laser oscillators, which produced perhaps the world's most stable laser pulses. (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Firepond 2's narrowband amplifier and modulator (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)
  • The Firepond 2 control room (courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory)