1957 US and the USSR Launch ICBM's

Khrushchev with Eisenhower

In late 1957, both the United States and USSR launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. It would be another two years until the missiles would be operational.

Both the United States and the Soviet Union made use of the technology that the Germans had developed creating their V-1 and V-2 rocket programs. The Soviets who had initially worked on short-range variants of the German design, in 1953 concentrated their efforts on the R-7. The R-7 was launched for the first time on May 15, 1957, but crashed in mid-flight. The first successful flight took place on August 21st, 1957 when it flew 3,700 miles to become the worlds first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The R-7 became operational on February 9, 1959. The R-7 was used by the Soviets to fly their first Sputnicks into Space.

The US was less interested initially in missiles given its overwhelming superiority in manned bombers, but that changed in 1953 when the Soviets exploded their first H bomb. In 1954 the Air Force Atlas program was given a national priority. The first Atlas was launched on June 11, 1957, but blew up 24 seconds into the flight. On November 28, 1958, the first successful launch took place. The Atlas D was deemed operational on September 1, 1959.