Irrefutable evidence of alien spacecraft on Earth and of their role in the disappearance and mutilation of people results in the formation of a top-secret task force dedicated to defending Earth from the alien menace; a paramilitary organization called S.H.A.D.O. with installations on the Moon and at strategic points on Earth and in Earth orbit comes into being during the 1970s. Many of the world's leading scientists are congregated into a "think tank" toward the building of sophisticated vehicles, computers, and weaponry; the resultant giant strides in technology also have non-S.H.A.D.O. application in the years to follow, among them artificial gravity fields and better and better propulsion systems for manned interplanetary and unmanned interstellar space travel; however, nobody outside of S.H.A.D.O. can know how these technological developments occurred and to what purpose they are originally applied; S.H.A.D.O.'s technical operation, operating behind the cover of the Harlington-Straker Studios movie studio in England, is headed by Commander Ed Straker, a former United States Air Force Colonel and astronaut who poses as the studio's chief executive. It's bureaucratic administration, the International Astrophysical Commission, is responsible for funding and for overseeing the secrecy of S.H.A.D.O. eventually becoming the World Space Commission, and is under the control of General James Henderson; during these years, the surface of the Moon becomes a mineral search site by private concerns, and S.H.A.D.O. must tolerate their presence on the Moon, until an injunction against further economic exploitation of the Moon is endorsed by the United Nations in the early 1980s.
The studio-as-cover idea was practical and cost-effective, as a studio was a business where unusual events and routines would not be remarkable or even noticed. Comings and goings at odd times, the movement of vehicles, equipment, people and material would not excite undue interest and could easily be explained away as "sets," "props," or "extras."
The main Command Centre on Earth is an underground facility located in London, underneath a film studio, which provides a cover for SHADO's activities.
Initial defense is coordinated from a fully equipped Moonbase
- 3 SHADO Interceptors, each equipped with a single missle. These are operated from Moonbase.
- Skydiver class submarines, each fitted with an interceptor aircraft carrying two pods of air-to-air rockets. The submarine also carries torpedos and missiles.
- SHADO Mobiles - Tank like vehicles equipped with rocket launchers for ground-to-air and ground-to-ground attack.
- Lunar Rocket Launchers - Limited movement vehicles assigned to Moonbase for it's own defense.
- Molly - Portable rocket launcher capable of destroying a UFO, limited to one rocket per firing.