SPACE: High Marks for Big Joe

Their eyes glued to the skies, the monitors at the U.S. missile-tracking stations in the South Atlantic searched the darkness one night last week. Suddenly they gaped; far above, starbright and hell-hot, a thing—it looked like a meteor—plummeted through the stars of the heavens and then disappeared over the horizon. Hours later in Washington, U.S. spacemen announced the news: Big Joe, the funnel-shaped prototype of the vehicle that will carry the first U.S. man into space in 1961, had been shot aloft in a test and had been recovered intact. Had a...

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