On this date in 1962 the USS Ethan Allen SSBN 608 conducted the only operational test and detonation of a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). The name of that test was "Frigate Bird".
Frigate Bird Test (Source: US DOE)
The USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608) launched a Polaris missile in the afternoon of May 6 1962 towards the Christmas Islands in Eastern Micronesia. The warhead went down range approximately 1,100 miles before re-entering the atmosphere 12 to 13 minutes later. The 600-kiloton airburst occurred at 11,000 feet above 4° 50' North, 149° 25' West . The DOE website has a file film download page of the Frigate Bird test.
USS Ethan Allen SSBN 608 (Source: US Navy)
The Frigate Bird test was part of a the largest U.S. Nuclear testing operation ever conducted, Operation Dominic, with 36 atmospheric tests at the Pacific Proving Grounds.
In other news today "U.S. Warns North Korea Against Nuclear Test" in the NYT (Subscription) and "N. Korea nuke test preparations" at CNN website. The successful Frigate Bird test was 43 years ago, the North Koreans shouldn't rattle those sabers too loud I would think.
The Frigate Bird is also known as the Man-O-War Bird.
I also liked this quote:
"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. " Frank Zappa
Had any good North Korean beer lately?
Update 5/7/05 - 9:30: the above Periscope photo shot is from the USS Carbonero (SS-337) 480 nm ENE of Christmas Island. 14:45: Another update to correct sleepy eyed typos and misspellings.