National Affairs: The A-Rocket

Three miles up in the bright blue Nevada sky, a slim rocket rigged to the underside of an F-89H twin-jet Scorpion came to fiery life, thrust loose from the speeding (around 600 m.p.h.) plane and streaked forward, far faster than sound. The F-89H banked sharply to the left to escape the coming blast. Four seconds later, a fireball flashed in the sky. It glowed for an instant like a newborn sun, then faded into a rosy, doughnut-shaped cloud.

The awe-struck watchers below had just seen military history made. For the first time, a nuclear-armed rocket had been fired from an airplane, and...

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