Missile Misfire

The sky above Cape Canaveral was clear, except for a few wispy clouds. At 10:50 a.m. last Thursday, the launch order was given for the first test-firing of a Pershing II missile. For 17 hopeful seconds, the flight looked perfect. But before the Pershing had climbed two miles, it started throwing off burning fragments. The missile, 34½ ft. long and 40 in. in diameter, was already disintegrating when an Air Force officer pushed the emergency button to detonate the small explosive charges packed on board. The nose cone, which fell into the Atlantic, carried no nuclear warhead. At week's end officials...

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