1960 ... Hustler cut-a-way!

... I am struck that the first flight of Convair's B-58 'Hustler' was way back in 1956. I always think of it as a semi-modern weapons system from the 60's. Hell, it's one year shy of being as old as I am!

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1952 ... meanwhile: 'Atomic Comics'

... after the Commie traitor at Air Defense Command let's the Russian bombers get through the destruction of NYC progresses painfully over several more pages. You know it's bad because of the dialog "YAARRRR and ARRRRGHH!" Even the cows in the Stockyards of Chicago are getting ... er ... slaughtered!

1961 ... "Davey Crockett" on the Go!

... everybody makes fun of the "Davey Crockett". Just because it was the world's smallest and lowest yield nuclear device doesn't mean that it can't hold it's head up high. Heck, with up to 2.100 of them produced it has to be one of the most prodigious battle filed nuclear weapons. With a 'yield' equivalent of 20 tons of TNT that cute little 75 lb. nuke gets a lot of bang for it's buck. If I was in a group of infantry about to be run over by a zillion Soviet tanks I'd be really happy to unlimber this 'equalizer'.  

Ka-Blooey!!     "Hah! take that! Argument over! Hey- that was pretty cool... we got another one of those things?"

... wow; twenty-one hundred built; makes you wonder if there's a couple left over in some German cellars or garages?

1966 ... more dreams of VTOL


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1962 ... Dynamc Soaring (Dyna-Soar) USAF spaceship!


... during the Cold War of the 1950's and 60's if you weren't developing something that stretched technology, was very expensive and could throw Nukes at the Russkies; you didn't get any money!

'Dyna-Soar' was also born at a time even before Project Mercury when the US assumed it's technological superiority over the USSR would allow a more gradual development of the manned- space program. Changing over to a 'Space-Race', beat the Soviets to the Moon, crash-program meant the 'man in a can' approach of space 'capsules'.

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1967 ... last chance!

... here we see a Sprint anti-missile-missile [ABM] being loaded into a silo launcher for a test at White Sands, NM. Sprint was the third phase, low level, interceptor of the 'Safeguard' system. If incoming warheads made it past the other missiles designed for outer-space or high altitude interception, Sprint would go screaming out and zap them with an enhanced radiation small nuke at lower altitudes. How low? From around 20 miles down to the last mile. Wow- better make sure you've got your Ray-bans on!

This is truly an "Oh-shit!" defense system. This cocaine snorter went from a standing start to 7,600 mph in just 5 seconds! In this video you can clearly see the second stage as it becomes white hot from atmospheric friction.

... sort of like it won the race and is in the next county before your big brother's GTO has even moved off the starting line!

... atomic test - By Bob Peak

... it looks as if Frank wants a more up-close and personal experience of this imminent 'shot' at the Nevada test-site. maybe he went through one too many of those early Army LSD research projects. Whatever the back story of this illustration by one of my favorite artists, it looks like this DOE photo was inspiration.

1957 - 1963 ... Project: Dyna-soar

... there's a lot to be said about the Boeing X-30 and the Air Force's desire to have it's own winged, reusable manned 'space-plane'. The first of which- don't name your project after a common term for obsolescence!  The "Dynamic Soaring" project reflected the early period of space exploration when men could still do a lot of things that computers and automation could not. In some ways it was the off-spring of the X-15 project in that it was a very flyable, maneuverable winged space craft that would do a controlled reentry from orbit and land like a glider. All the why's of needing to put fighter-jocks in space is still a matter of speculation. But after the 1963 treaties prohibiting Nukes In Space took all the real fun out of the idea.

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1952 ... "destruction"

... this is a painting by famous science artist Chesley Bonestell of what is supposed to be a Hydrogen Bomb air-burst over New York City. Early H-bombs were all pretty high yield and so this seems, ironically, a little conservative. 

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American Experience - Race for the Super Bomb

1960 ... "all aboard!" ICBM's

... the USAF's desire to have it's ICBM force invulnerable by making it 'mobile' is a dream that has taken several fantasies. Shuttling atomic missiles around the country on special trains has been proposed at least twice. Here we see a nifty Minuteman train-table set up in a Boeing hangar for the benefit of the press and VIP's. Twenty six years later a similar plan was proposed for the Peacekeeper missile.

1960 ... model train arms-race!

... American toy manufacturers were never less than one-step behind the most advanced Pentagon research projects!