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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!