National Affairs: Rise of Polaris

In a time when the U.S. must have the power of instant retaliation, the weakness of the U.S.'s growing family of liquid oxygen ("lox") -and-kerosene-fueled missiles is that they cannot retaliate instantly. Time needed to fuel the Air Force's test-ICBM Atlas: a minimum 15 minutes after an hour-long countdown. Time needed to fuel the Air Force's test IRBM Thor, even using a promising but not fully tested method of "force-feeding": eight minutes. The U.S.'s lox missiles could conceivably be knocked out by the enemy before they could be fueled and primed for launching....

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