HISTORY OF THE STARGATE PROGRAM
The Stargate Program is a fictional top-secret program
that plays a key role in the Stargate franchise: it surrounds the operations
of the Stargate on Earth. The core of the Stargate Program is Stargate
Command (SGC), based at the Cheyenne Mountain
Air Force Station near Colorado Springs, Colorado. During the run of
Stargate SG-1, the NID is most critical of the
Stargate Program, while the program is extended through the establishment of
the Department of Homeworld Security and the
Advisory (IOA). The Atlantis Project as seen in
Stargate Atlantis is part of the Stargate Program but works
independently during season 1 of the show.
Despite alien attacks such as in "Lost City" and "Ex Deus Machina", all attempts are made throughout the series to keep the existence of the Stargate Program secret, assuming there would be mass panic if the public found out. Several alternate-universe episodes address the public reaction to the revelation of the Stargate Program. Nevertheless, some conspiracy theorists in the series assume extraterrestrial activity at the highest levels of the military. A very few select civilians such as Martin Lloyd and Jeannie Miller are also aware of the existence of the Program.
The SGC is located one thousand meters beneath the Cheyenne
Mountain. This protects it from most forms of attack, including indirect
nuclear detonations, and allows containment of biological or chemical hazards
generated by gate travel (the base may be 'locked down'). However, it was shown
in an alternate
universe (seen via the use of an alien device in the episode "There
But For the Grace of God") to be unable to withstand a direct Goa'uld
The primary function of the base is to secure the Stargate (by locking it under 1000 meters of rock inside a secure military base) and protect the Earth. Simultaneously, it exists to coordinate exploration and diplomatic relationships through the Stargate; i.e. it is the core of the Stargate Program, the mission of which is to procure technology that can defend Earth, and make off-world allies.
The SGC serves as one location for researching alien technology with larger
or longer term research projects being conducted at Area
51 off-site in Nevada. On more than one occasion, SGC personnel have had to
recapture alien technology that has escaped into the outside world. Many cover
stories have been generated to keep the general populace, even high-ranking
government officials, unaware of the goings on within the SGC.
|HISTORY OF THE SGC|
The Stargate, originally found in 1928 in Giza, Egypt, was stored in various locations by the United States Air Force--including Washington, DC--before it was installed in the Creek Mountain facility. While the Stargate had been previously studied (most notably in the 1940s as a potential weapon), no one was able to make it reliably function until Egyptologist and Archaeologist Daniel Jackson was introduced to Project Giza, predecessor to the SGC in the early 1990's. Jackson intuited the strange symbols around the perimeter of the Stargate device were actually representations of constellations rather than hieroglyphs, and the device could 'dial' another Stargate by 'locking' seven (or, much later, up to eight) of its chevrons onto these symbols, like a combination lock. This 'dialing' activates a wormhole between the dialer's Stargate and one of thousands of other Stargates across the cosmos, allowing for near-instantaneous travel to other planets.
Subsequently, Major General West ordered USAF Colonel Jack O'Neill and a team of military personnel accompanied by Daniel Jackson were sent from the Creek Mountain Facility through the Stargate to Abydos, where they encountered Ra. Ra was a Goa'uld, an alien race that uses Stargates to transport slaves and goods throughout the galaxy.
The name and location of the Stargate changed between the movie and the Stargate SG1 TV series. It was changed from the Creek Mountain Facility to Cheyenne Mountain. This is just one of many inconsistencies between SG1 and the movie. It is long pointed out in SG1 that the current SGC facility in Cheyenne Mountain is the same facility used in the movie. In the period between the movie and SG1, the Stargate Program was mothballed since the Air Force inaccurately believed the only connecting point for the Stargate (the Abydos gate) was inaccessible.
The Stargate and any related programs remained dormant until 1997, when the Goa'uld Apophis dialed the Earth Stargate and kidnapped one of the Air Force Security Forces personnel assigned to guard it. When it was confirmed that Apophis had not arrived via the Abydos Stargate but instead a planet called Chulak, it was realized that the Stargate was capable of connecting with multiple destinations. Colonel O'Neill, since retired, was recalled to active duty and assigned to head the rescue mission where he convinced Teal'c, Apophis' First Prime, to defect from the service of the Goa'uld.
Realizing the Goa'uld threat, Stargate Command (SGC) was formed with a contingent of SG teams, of which the primary team, SG-1, consisted of Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter and Teal'c. Their standing orders, along with the SGC, were to acquire weapons or technology that could help Earth in the fight against the Goa'uld, including establishing alliances.
From that point forward, the SGC began exploring hundreds of worlds, and after encountering a few advanced races, researching and developing many alien/human-hybrid devices, such as fighter-jets capable of spaceflight, and Earth-designed battlecruisers, late in Season 6.
About a year and a half after the first activation of the
Stargate and the mission to Abydos (about half a year after the creation of the
SGC and the SG teams), a second Stargate was found on Earth, in Antarctica.
This Stargate was sealed until Season
4, when it was unsealed after the original Giza gate had crashed into the
Pacific Ocean aboard the Asgard
performing deep-sea research in the area, discovered the Giza gate and began
using it in conjunction with the DHD
they had captured from Germany
War II. Eventually, the Antarctic gate was destroyed by a device controlled
and the Giza gate was returned to the United States from Russia for rent and an
agreement to share plans for the F-302
space fighter-interceptor and BC-303
interstellar battlecruiser (by this point, however, the DHD was destroyed
rescuing Teal'C.) This agreement also called for the formation of a Russian SG
team at the SGC. Renewal of this agreement in Season 9 led to Russia acquiring
class battlecruiser, the Korolev.
The core of the Stargate Program is Stargate Command, a
fictional top-secret military organization under Air Force Space Command,
based at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station near Colorado Springs,
Colorado (and at Creek Mountain Facility, a fictional name for Cheyenne
Mountain in the Stargate film). Stargate Command, codenamed "Area 52", is
tasked with operating the Stargate on Earth and coordinates exploration and
diplomatic relationships through the Stargate. Long-term research of alien
technology is usually moved from the SGC to Area 51 in Nevada. Stargate
Command is formed in the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, "Children of the
Gods", when the Goa'uld threat is first recognized.
|SGC FACILITIES & TECHNOLOGY|
The SGC base, where most episodes of SG-1 begin and end,
is the main setting in Stargate SG-1 and occasionally features on Stargate
Atlantis. Half a dozen stock shots of Cheyenne Mountain were filmed at the
beginning of the series and re-used until season 8, but the producers did
not decide until the beginning of season 9 to film new shots, thinking that
Stargate SG-1 would be cancelled after each current year. The interior of
the SGC base, together with the Atlantis set, is filmed at stages 5 and 6 at
The Bridge Studios in Vancouver, Canada. As of August 2008, the SGC set is
still standing to allow for future films.
Like the real Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, the SGC extends many levels beneath the ground (officially called sub-levels), thus protecting the base from most forms of attack including indirect nuclear detonations. In the Stargate universe, the base also serves to contain biological, chemical or alien hazards to the outside world by means of a 'lockdown' status. The briefing room and the SGC Commander's office is located at level 27, while the Gate Room with the Stargate and an elevated Control Room are at level 28. A long ramp in the middle of the Gateroom leading up to the Stargate allows vehicles (such as the M.A.L.P. robot probe) to enter the Stargate. The Stargate may be lifted in and out through a ceiling that can open. The real Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station denies fan theories of the existence of a Stargate in their Command Center.
The Stargate is equipped with a metallic barrier called
the Iris to prevent hostile aliens from entering the SGC. Off-world SG teams
additionally carry a GDO to identify themselves to the SGC. If nevertheless
faced with an alien invasion, the facility has a self-destruct mechanism,
which has been activated on more than one occasion on the show. According to
Colonel Samantha Carter, the self-destruct is not powerful enough to destroy
the Stargate or to disconnect an active wormhole, but it would bury the gate
under 1000 metric tons of rock to stop incoming travelers.
The SGC extends many levels beneath the ground, officially called sub-levels.
Hostile aliens such as the Goa'uld
are usually prevented from entering the SGC through the Stargate
by use of 'the Iris'.
This is a device that creates a barrier a few micrometers in front of the
'event horizon' of the Stargate, keeping any matter from fully rematerializing,
thus preventing the passage of dangerous objects and/or entities. The iris also
prevents the formation of the 'sideways flush' usually seen when the wormhole
is first established. It can be opened for the return of an SG
team, but is closed if there is an alien attack.
In the event that either the Iris is penetrated or must be kept open because
an SG team is returning under enemy fire, standard procedure dictates that a
heavily armed defense team must be present, with their weapons ready, in order
to provide defense in case of hostiles coming through the Stargate.
If the SGC is threatened with invasion, the facility has a self-destruct
mechanism which has been activated more than once. It requires at least two
high-ranking officers to initiate or deactivate (although the computer system
may be manipulated so as to avoid this requirement.). Alien takeover of the SGC
is referred to as a "foothold"
situation (see the episode "Foothold").
However, according to Col. Carter, the self-destruct is not powerful enough to
destroy the Stargate (Requiring a Mark
V warhead) and has only a minimal chance of disconnecting an active
wormhole. It would bury the gate under 1000 meters of rock so it would stop the
any more incoming travelers. Even with these shortcomings, it remains the best
backup plan in available in the event of a hostile alien takeover of the SGC.
First mentioned in "Touchstone", Area 51 is a
top-secret military facility at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada that serves
as an alternate research site for the SGC. Many alien technologies brought
back through the Stargate are studied or stored at Area 51. The X-301
fighter and its successor the F-302 are developed at Area 51. The Ancient
control chair was moved to Area 51 a month before Stargate Atlantis S05E20
"Enemy at the Gate", due to it being in violation of international law,
during an attack by a Wraith hive-ship powered by a ZPM (Zero-Point Module),
at least a portion of the base is destroyed by two kamikaze darts,
destroying the Ancient control chair in the process.
|Attempted shutdowns and takeovers of the SGC|
On many occasions the very existence or control of the SGC has been in threat.
Kinsey has often made strong efforts to close down the entire Stargate
Program, (succeeding in the episode "Politics",
only for it to be reopened), arguing that the existence of the Stargate is far
too great a threat to Earth. Richard
Woolsey, an inspector, recommended the closure of the SGC to the President
of the United States, arguing that SG-1
were a reckless team that more than once had caused the Earth great threat.
Kinsey later on tried various methods of putting himself in power of the
SGC, mainly through links with rogue NID
leaders, who have tried to sabotage the base on many occasions, once even
succeeding in stealing the Stargate itself.
On a few occasions, aliens have managed to permeate the Iris. The Tollan
possess technology capable of allowing people to pass through matter, but were
never considered a threat owing to their friendship with Earth. At least once,
the base was compromised by aliens with unforeseen abilities (for instance in
the episode "Foothold"). Anubis,
a powerful System
Lord with access to Ancient technology, has tried to destroy the SGC via
various methods, including the detonation of the Stargate itself. All attempts
to subsume or destroy the SGC to date have failed.
The SGC base is typically commanded by a major general
(O-8) and is staffed by subject matter experts and military support
personnel, several elite special operations teams, and several SG teams,
including SG-1. Stargate Command started out with 9 SG teams; at the time of
season 10's "Uninvited", there were at least 25 SG teams. The majority of
the teams are U.S. Air Force with some U.S. Marine Corps, civilians and
later U.S. Army as well. Other countries' militaries have been included as
the existence of the Stargate was revealed to other countries (the first
were the Russians, agreed to in "Redemption (Part 2)", first seen in "The
Tomb"). A very few alien beings (Teal'c, Jonas Quinn, and Vala Mal Doran)
have also been allowed to join. These offworld teams usually operate as
teams of four, although that is not a requirement.
The first leader of the SGC is Major General West in the film, followed by Major General George Hammond from season 1 through 7. Major General Bauer briefly replaces Hammond, who retires under duress in season 4's "Chain Reaction". Dr. Elizabeth Weir becomes the first civilian commander of the SGC after Hammond's reassignment in season 7's "Lost City". When Weir leaves the SGC in season 8's "New Order" to be in charge of the Atlantis Expedition early in Season 8, Brigadier General Jack O'Neill takes over for season 8 until he replaces Hammond as the commander of the Department of Homeworld Security in early season 9. Major General Hank Landry is leader of the SGC in seasons 9 and 10 and the two direct-to-DVD SG-1 films.
In chronological order, the leaders of the SGC:
|THE ATLANTIS PROJECT|
The Atlantis Project, also called the Atlantis Expedition, is Earth's
international mission to the Ancient city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy.
The impetus for the creation of the expedition was the discovery of the
Ancient outpost in Antarctica in the episode "Lost City". The reason that it
is international is that it was felt that a project of such importance could
not be the exclusive province of one nation, as well as the fact that
according to American and international law, Antarctica is international
territory and hence it would be technically illegal for the United States to
operate any facilities without international participation or at least
international knowledge. An international committee, originally called the
Atlantis Committee was established, creating the first truly international
body for the management of Earth's off-world affairs. It is composed of
the representatives of several nations, but the leaders of the committee
seem to be the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Russia,
and China. However, numerous nations have sent people to Atlantis.
The majority of the off-world exploration teams are
U.S. Marine Corps with some U.S. Air Force and multi-national civilian
members. Multi-national soldiers from at least five countries (Russia,
United Kingdom, Canada , Germany and Spain) are assigned to the Atlantis
base security unit. The Atlantis military component is originally led by
Marine Corps Colonel Marshall Sumner, who after his death is replaced by Air
Force Major John Sheppard, the second highest ranking military officer at
this time. From the personnel who first arrive in Atlantis, at least three
teams are established during Atlantis season one. No official team
designations are mentioned in the series. However, during the first season,
director and creative consultant Peter DeLuise has called the teams
'Atlantis Reconnaissance Team 1', 'Team 2' and 'Team 3' (or AR-1, AR-2 and
AR-3), and writer and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi has called the
teams 'First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team', 'Second Atlantis Reconnaissance
Team', etc. At the beginning of season 2, Sheppard is promoted to the rank
of Lieutenant Colonel and instated as military component commander of the
expanded Atlantis Expedition. A number of commissioned officers
are established as team leaders, and several specialist teams are put
together for single missions.
|THE DESTINY EXPEDITION|
The Destiny Expedition is a reconnaissance mission to the previously
unmanned Ancient vessel Destiny, which was part of an experiment to seed
galaxies with Stargates. Millions of years prior to the expedition - perhaps
even before the Ancients' war with the Wraith or Altantis' move to the
Pegasus Galaxy - the Ancients sent several ships across the universe, the
first vessels are automated ships sent out to seed various galaxies with
Stargates, and the second, Destiny, to follow-up, exploring and possibly
colonizing the Stargate-seeded planets. The ninth chevron on a standard
Stargate is used to travel to the Destiny, which is still unmanned due to
the Ancients ascension. However, the experiment was abandoned when the
Ancients ascended, leaving the ship abandoned in the void until the
The expedition plans to set off from the Icarus Base, a secret off-world research base set up by the SGC. However, a currently unknown enemy attacks the base, forcing the expedition to escape through the Stargate onto the Destiny. Due to their hasty escape, the people find themselves without adequate food, water, or supplies on a old, neglected, decaying ship with air leaks and failing life support. In addition, many people on the ship were never intended to go on the expedition, while others who were supposed to join it never did.
The Destiny travels on a preprogrammed course, following the first ship's path throughout the universe. Since it is impossible for the team to alter its course, there is no way to return to Earth. At each planet, the ship stops for a fixed amount of time for the crew to explore the world's truly alien landscapes and species. However, if a member of the crew is left behind when the ship leaves departs, the crew member is stranded, for there is no way for the crew to turn the ship around. Rush is left behind in Season one's Justice on a planet. Although he manages to return to the ship as he is captured by currently unnamed aliens and escapes to Destiny when the Aliens try to take the ship. Lt. Scott, Eli, Chloe and Sgt. Greer are forcibly left behind in Human.
|DEPARTMENT OF HOMEWORLD SECURITY|
The top-secret Department of Homeworld Security controls
the Stargate Program (Stargate Command, including its associated research
facility at Area 51 and the Alpha, Beta and Gamma sites), which were
originally directly overseen by the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Department of Homeworld Security also controls the F-302/BC-304
program and coordinates the oversight of the Ancient outpost in Antarctica,
while the International Oversight Advisory (IOA) holds direct (political)
authority over the Antarctic base and the Atlantis expedition. The
Department of Homeworld Security was established by President Henry Hayes
after the events of "Lost City", with Lieutenant General George Hammond as
its first leader. When Hammond retires from USAF active service and moves on
to another position, Major General Jack O'Neill takes over in early season
Homeworld Command is located in the Pentagon, as seen in the Stargate Universe episode Earth.
The United States, by virtue of its control of the
Stargate, is largely responsible for Earth's interstellar policy in the
Stargate franchise. More nations gradually come to take part in its use.
Following the events of season 3's "Nemesis", Russia briefly establish their
own Stargate program based in Siberia, which is terminated and merged with
the United States program running out of Cheyenne Mountain shortly after
season 4's "Watergate". The United States and Russia inform the other three
permanent members of the UN Security Council (the United Kingdom, France,
and the People's Republic of China) in season 6's "Disclosure", in the hopes
of pooling their combined military resources to defend Earth against
Anubis's fleet. The US President also informs long-time ally Canada about
Stargate Command's fleet engagement plans in "Lost City".
After the defeat of Anubis's fleet and the subsequent discovery of the Ancient outpost in Antarctica, an international committee is established to oversee it and the Atlantis expedition. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the signatory members of the Antarctic Treaty (including Jamaica, Philippines, Portugal, Croatia and Spain) sign the Gate Alliance Treaty, which specifies that all acquired alien technology will be shared between the member nations, in exchange for assistance in keeping the program secret. However, in the following three years, the US military interprets the treaty to only apply to non-military technology, which the Chinese delegate mentions as a sore point in "The Scourge". Still, not all nations have been informed about the existence of the Stargate.
|INTERNATIONAL OVERSIGHT ADVISORY (IOA)|
The IOA (or
Advisory) is a civilian oversight committee, created after the United
States and Russia revealed the existence of the Stargate Program to the
other permanent members of the UN Security Council in season 6's
"Disclosure". The IOA has also been referred to as the "International
Oversight Committee" on the show, until producer Joseph Mallozzi
realized during the writing of "The Ties That Bind" that the acronym IOC is
already used by the International Olympic Committee. The IOA is in control over
the Atlantis Expedition and also of funding, and
approves any missions involving Atlantis or Earth's battle cruisers.
Although not having direct authority over Stargate Command, which as a
command of the United States Air Force is controlled by the United States
Department of Defense, the IOA assigns a representative to the SGC in
exchange for further funding in "The Ties That Bind". The writers originally
wanted to set up an IOA watchdog character on SG-1 and possibly have Richard
Woolsey on the base all the time, but season 9 already had so many new
characters that the writers did not develop this idea.
The most prominent IOA member is Richard Woolsey as a US representative. Two other American IOA members are James Marrick (Currie Graham), shown in Stargate: The Ark of Truth, and Coolidge (Rob LaBelle), shown in "Midway". Representatives of other nations are shown in season 9's "The Scourge" – Russel Chapman of the United Kingdom (played by Andy Maton), Jean Lapierre of France (Mark Oliver), Chen Xiaoyi of China (Tamlyn Tomita), and Col. Chekov of Russia (Gary Chalk). When these representatives review operations at the SGC and Atlantis, members of both the SGC and the Atlantis expedition display a rather low opinion of the IOA. According to Dr. Elizabeth Weir in "No Man's Land", the IOA's inability to make final decisions is only a strategic maneuver to not take responsibility, therefore having a scapegoat (such as Weir herself) in case things go wrong. In Stargate Universe, Camile Wray is the highest-ranking surviving member of the IOA onboard the Destiny and acts the ship's de facto civilian leader. In "Life", the IOA leadership on Earth stated their support for Wray to command the Destiny instead of Colonel Everett Young.
|Earth's efforts to construct starships of its own using reverse-engineered alien technology begin in the season 4 episode "Tangent", with the less-than-successful X-301. In season 6, the X-302 (later F-302), the first spaceworthy Earth fighter, is introduced, along with Earth's first space battlecruiser, the Prometheus. Squadrons of F-302s are eventually stationed on Earth, Atlantis, the SGC's alternative sites, and its battlecruisers. In season 2 of Stargate Atlantis, the Daedalus-class battlecruiser is introduced, incorporating advancements that were tested on the Prometheus. Thus far, six Daedalus-class battlecruisers have appeared in the series: the Daedalus, the Odyssey, the Korolev (destroyed in season 9), the Apollo, the Sun Tzu, and the Phoenix (only in an alternate timeline), renamed the George Hammond in the main timeline. Except for the Korolev and the Sun Tzu, which are operated by the Russians and Chinese respectively, all Earth combat spacecraft are operated by the United States Air Force. The United States Senate Appropriations Committee considers the construction of Daedalus-class ships to be its top priority in terms of planetary defense.|