ARMED FORCES: Blast-Off at Sea

Six miles east of Cape Canaveral one night last week, the 16,100-ton converted merchant ship Observation Island steamed an easterly course in gently rolling seas.

The seagoing missile laboratory, fitted with exact duplicates of launching tubes aboard the Navy's two Polaris submarines, listed 2^ degrees to starboard. Deep below the ship's afterdeck, a tube holding a Polaris missile was tilted another seven degrees to guarantee that the missile would fire away from the ship. Suddenly, amid a great puff of white steam formed by compressed air, the sleek, 28-ft. missile whooshed 70 ft. into the dark sky, seemed to hang...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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