National Geographic : 1959 Oct
Atlantic Missile Range Spans a Quarter of the Globe No other area in the world, experts have said, seems so well designed by nature for long range missile testing. Open reaches of sea guarantee safety against mishaps. Sites in the Dominican Republic and on islands owned by British Commonwealth nations, Brazil, and the United States assure good tracking. A 15-min ute flight may yield a quarter-million readings. As a missile roars up from Canaveral, a com plex electronic system picks up its tracking beam, plots its course, and predicts its im pact point up to 6,000 miles away with lines moving on screens before the eyes of the range safety officer. If the rocket veers off course, the officer presses a button, a radio command flashes up, and the missile explodes. Diagram of the range's northern third (above) shows an Atlas in flight above the main tracking systems. Ships and aircraft crammed with electronic gear fill gaps in the range's southern sector and at times extend coverage beyond Ascension. 434 DRAWNBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICARTIST JOHNW. LOTHERS © N GS.