DEFENSE: Big Week for the Birds

With shock wave, fiery blast and departing roar, the U.S. last week sent three missiles streaming into the Atlantic skies from Florida, and marked the most important week of U.S. missile firing to date. From the hot launching pads at Cape Canaveral Test Center shot the Air Force's intermediate-range Thor, the Army's counterpart Jupiter and—successfully for the first time—the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile Atlas.

Jupiter, which had been fired successfully at least once before and failed on two other occasions, this time was only a qualified success. In a burst of fire at night that lit the missile like...

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