Nation: Fire in the Sky

With a brilliant white flash that turned night into day over millions of square miles of the Pacific, the U.S. exploded its highest nuclear test some 260 miles above the earth. It was the first invasion of the fringes of outer space by a thermonuclear device, and what it proved militarily for the security of the U.S. was a carefully kept secret. But the one-megaton bomb that arched over tiny Johnston Island on a three-stage Delta rocket caused the most dazzling—and awesome—display of man's power ever seen.

The test was the most publicized, most debated and most postponed of the U.S. current...

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!