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Good Morning

Illustration for article titled Good Morning
Photo: US Air Force

It’s Friday, Oppo, and time to launch ourselves into the weekend.

In this stunning photo, a Convair F-106 Delta Dart of the California Air National Guard fires an inert AIR-2 Genie unguided nuclear rocket. The Genie was an air-to-air weapon, and was designed to be fired into the center of a large formation of Soviet bombers. In the days before precision guided missiles, this one-shot-one-kill concept was the only way to protect against massed Soviet nuclear-armed bombers.

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The Genie was in service from 1958 to 1985, but only a single live rocket was ever detonated, part of a series of tests codenamed Operation Plumbbob. The Genie was detonated about 20,000 feet above the Nevada National Security Site at Yucca Flats, and the Air Force, eager to prove that such weapons could be deployed safely over populated cities, had five officers volunteer to stand on the ground underneath the explosion. None of them died prematurely, or was injured in the blast (apparently). Which means, of course, that unguided nuclear rockets are perfectly safe to use.

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