NW042 Thor IRBM - Cuban Missile Crisis rocket

 

The Thor missile program was initiated in December 1954, when USAF headquarters issued requirement for a tactical missile intended to travel a distance of between 1 150 and 2 300 miles. Thor was undertaken as a high-risk program having the goal of achieving flight within the shortest possible time. The Thor had its first complete launch pad test in January 1957 and a full-range flight test in September 1957.
The Thor entered active military service in september 1958. Thor missiles were assigned to the Strategic Air Command and were also deployed to Europe. After a few years the Thors were withdrawn from Britan (and the Jupiters from Turkey) as part of the secret codicil of Kennedy's deal to end the Cuban Missile Crisis. A few continued in an offensive military role as a nuclear-tipped anti-satellite system, based on Johnson Atoll in the Pacific, until the end of the early 1970ís.