Nuclear Tests: Sentries in Orbit

The rocket pads at Cape Canaveral have been comparatively quiet for months. Only an occasional missile roars aloft, and to jaded Florida bird watchers, the Atlas-Agena that lifted off last week was far from novel. But this time the familiar workhorse carried a brand-new payload: its nose was fitted with two icosahedrons (two-sided solid figures) about 4 ft. in diameter. And the angular cargo was destined to play a large part in policing the cold war.

After separating from the Agena second stage, the two odd objects headed for orbits 60,000 miles above the earth. There, well above the Van Allen...

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